Travis Durham turned what was supposed to be a punishment into a community initiative. After his mother instructed him to mow a couple of their neighbors’ lawns, the Louisville teen collided with an untapped passion and cut eight yards before he returned home.
The teen recruited his two brothers and a cousin to lend a hand in creating a free lawn-mowing service for the community, WDRB reports. “We’re doing it for the community, [for] people who can’t get out and do it,” Durham told the news station. “And I got my brothers involved because I kind of showed them and told them the good effects.”
The teenagers, all around the ages of 14 and 15, aren’t always well received by their neighbors, however. “Because they’re young black males, people are a little afraid to open their door,” Durham’s mother Barbara Wilson revealed. “They just shut the door, [say] ‘no thank you.’ They don’t even give them a chance to tell them, ‘It’s free we want to stay out of trouble, we just want to take care of our community.'”
In spite of the pushback, the teens’ budding business has garnered success in various Kentucky locations including Newburg, Valley Station and Fairdale. After setting up a GoFundMe campaign, they received more than $70,000 in donations, far outweighing their initial goal of $6,000 for equipment maintenance and fuel.
As a reward for their hard work, Wilson has promised the young men a trip to Disney next summer. “It was a big deal for them. It got them motivated. I told them, regardless, if they make enough money or not, me and my husband, we’ll find a way,” she said. “They may not have the best of everything, but they have everything that they need. And for the things that they want, they have to do things like this to earn it.”