Full Press Coverage is proud to feature this series in which columnist Matt Robinson will profile and celebrate our athletic friends who go the extra mile for people in need.
Introduced to the game of football at a young age, Matt Light played in and around his hometown of Greenville, Ohio, before earning a scholarship to Purdue University. Drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots in 2001, Light began what would be a storied football career, complete with five Super Bowl appearances, three Super Bowl championships, and three trips to the Pro Bowl over the course of 11 seasons in the NFL.
Even when he was not on the field, Light (who will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame the weekend of September 28-30, 2018) was and continues to be known as a leader. During his career, he served as a representative to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and was also a member of the Association’s Executive Committee. Recently inducted into the Patriots’ Hall of Fame, he continues to lead in his community as founder of the Light Foundation, a nonprofit organization that he created during his rookie year to help at-risk kids in Ohio, New England, and from cities around the country who need mentors to help them find and follow the path to success.
In 2007, the Foundation opened Chenoweth Trails, a 400-plus acre facility that hosts a majority of its programming, including the Vohokase Leadership Camp.
When did the foundation start?
I started it when I was a rookie with the Patriots in 2001.
What is the goal?
Our goal is to be a beacon for charitable organizations, athletes and young people, inspiring kids to work hard, put their best foot forward, and strive to become champions in the game of life
What does it bring to the community?
My goal is to equip young people (especially boys) with the tools they need to be Responsible, Ethical, Accountable Leaders (which we call “R.E.A.L” people). We do this by using outdoor experiences (which are new to many participants) to encourage leadership and life skills.
What are your most meaningful annual events?
We host lots of events to raise awareness and funds. Among the most popular are our Youth Turkey Hunt, The All-Conference Matt Light Football Camp, The Leadership Conference, the Camp Vohokase Leadership Camp, the Gauntlet Muddy Trail Run, and our annual comedy night, Fools’ Night Out. Our biggest event, however, is the Matt Light Celebrity Shootout, which will take place this year on September 25. We also offer a number of academic scholarship opportunities in Ohio and Massachusetts and even organize a team for the Boston Marathon.
How can people become involved?
Our event volunteers are essential in making sure our events are a success for the organization as well as a celebration of what we do! We are always looking for like-minded individuals to work alongside us in our efforts to improve the lives of our youth.
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–Matt Robinson is a Special Contributor to Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He is a freelance writer and editor with 20 years of experience. See his content at www.therobinsonreporter.com