YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The United Returning Citizens organization is continuing its dedication to teaching kids about lawn care.

URC Lawn Care is teaching teenagers 13 and older the basics of landscaping and how to use equipment like lawnmowers and weed whackers. They begin once the kids are out of school for the summer and work five days a week. They also get paid for their work.

“Three days they’re gonna be outside in the field doing that, and two days they’re gonna be in here getting self-awareness,” said Dionne Dowdy, executive director of the United Returning Citizens.

In addition to the lawn care training, the teens will learn about character, self-esteem, financial literacy and more. Dowdy said the program is meant to be a mentorship for the kids.

The kids will mainly cut grass along Hillman Street on the south side. Dowdy says one of the hopes is that the kids will take pride in keeping up with the area and beautifying it, and hopefully encourage others to do the same.

“We want them to be proud of something that they’ve done. They’ve seen the beginning to the end and know that they can accomplish something and give themselves self-confidence in what they’re doing. When you go down the street and you see a nicely cut grass, it just makes you smile,” she said.

This is the second year of the program. They did it one year, then took a break during the pandemic. But she says when they had the program running they saw a difference in the kids involved.

“They learned how to load the equipment on the trailer, unload it, take care of them as far as gas, if something was wrong, they could figure it out. It was a nice change over the summer,” said Rodney Johnson, one of the instructors.

Johnson said the program teaches the kids about responsibility, and they can also take the skills they learn and maybe open their own business one day.

Dowdy said anyone who wants to be a part of it can, but they do have a limit on how many kids they can take.

Anyone interested in finding out more about it can contact the United Returning Citizens at (330) 406-0827.