Warren twins, 8, complete ‘50 Yard’ lawn mowing challenge

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 25, 2021

  Twins Justin and Olivia Charnoske, 8, of Warren, completed the 50 Yard Challenge  this summer.

Twins Justin and Olivia Charnoske, 8, of Warren, completed the 50 Yard Challenge this summer.

Photo provided by Kimberly Greer

 When they finished the 50 Yard Challenge, the group’s founder, Rodney Smith, traveled to Michigan to deliver a new mower, blower and weed eater for each of the twins.

When they finished the 50 Yard Challenge, the group’s founder, Rodney Smith, traveled to Michigan to deliver a new mower, blower and weed eater for each of the twins.

Photo provided by Kimberly Greer

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WARREN — Kimberly Greer said she was scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed when she came across the “50 Yard Challenge.”

Here’s the gist: Kids are challenged to cut 50 lawns for the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans, or anyone in need in their community for free.

“There’s so many hoax things out there. Once I started looking into it, it was a legitimate thing,” Greer said.

When her 8-year-old twins, Justin and Olivia Charnoske, got home from school, she asked them if they had any interest in completing the challenge.

“Neither one of them hesitated to say yes,” Greer said. “Justin’s been cutting lawns since he was five. He would cut everybody’s lawn if he could.”

The 50 Yard Challenge is an outreach organized by the Alabama-based Raising Men Lawn Care Service and Raising Women Lawn Care Service. According to statistics published on the group’s website, more than 2,464 kids from at least eight countries and all 50 states, including at least 79 from Michigan, have taken part in the challenge.

The stated goal is “making a difference one lawn at a time.”

“They send you shirts, the glasses and the ear protection. Once you get that, you start mowing the lawns and you just submit the pictures of them doing different lawns via text messages, so it’s super, super simple,” Greer said.

Kids get a different colored shirt for each group of 10 lawns they cut, according to the website. The challenge is open to girls and boys ages 7-17.

Using the family’s mower and one from a neighbor, Justin and Olivia started the challenge on July 12 and kept going through the hot and soggy weeks that followed in southeast Michigan.

“I’m like, man, there were days it was so hot,” Greer said. “We would get to the point where they would take turns. One would sit in the car with the air on and they would swap out.”

Greer said her kids cut 12 lawns one day.

During the challenge, there were several they cut more than once for residents in need. Most of the lawns were in Warren. Others were in Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, Macomb Township, St. Clair Shores and Roseville.

“The people were absolutely ecstatic about it. One lady in Clinton Township told us we saved her from her second blight ticket. There was one that was in the south end of Warren, the same thing. We found out we could do her lawn weekly. She was bedridden. Once you see that, she was so excited. It was something so simple, yet it made her so happy.”

They advertised the free service on social media and eventually reposted it to get across the finish line for the challenge at 50 yards. They hit that mark on Aug. 9.

After they did, the group’s founder, Rodney Smith, traveled to Michigan on Aug. 15 to deliver a brand-new mower, weed eater and blower for the twins.

Both kids are students at Westwood Elementary. The family lives near Common and Schoenherr roads.

“I like helping people,” Olivia said. She said her favorite subject in school is math. She likes to eat spaghetti and said that her mom is her hero.

“I just like cutting grass,” Justin said. “They said thank you.” He said he also enjoys playing baseball and soccer. He said science is his favorite subject and also said spaghetti is his favorite food. His mom is his hero, too.

More information about the Raising Men Lawn Care Service and Raising Women Lawn Care Service group and its mission can be found online at weareraisingmen.com.

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