Matt is about more than just football. He’s also about the outdoors, family, and giving back.
Matt Light was born on June 23, 1978, in Greenville, Ohio. He grew up in his rural farming community loving the outdoors and enjoying nature.
“I really learned to respect the outdoors as a kid—if I ever did something destructive, well, that was a big no-no,” Matt said of his childhood. “You have respect for the animals, the trees—you don’t tear something up. You have to have accountability. The outdoors teaches you patience and hard work. If you want to enjoy some of the things the outdoors has to offer, you have to work hard to do it. Growing up, I was always with my uncles, my dad, and close family, especially outdoors. You really have that sense of camaraderie and family being outside together.”
It’s no surprise that Matt attributes a lot of his work ethic to not only learning from nature, but also to strong family values instilled in him as a kid.
“My family is very interesting. My father’s capable of anything; he’s very artistic, a genius, a mad scientist—in a good way. My mom is a music teacher. She taught me that if I make a commitment to something I absolutely have to finish it. I was always around different experiences, very cool experiences. My childhood was always about being with aunts and uncles and cousins—we have a big family and it was a very fun atmosphere growing up. I really do value family and believe in being there for each other.”
After high school, Matt attended Purdue University and was originally a tight end on the football team. However, Matt’s skill set—and eating habits—were best suited for play on the offensive line. And it was as an offensive lineman that he was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2001. His contributions to the Patriots have helped them win three Super Bowl titles in his career.
Although Matt plays football for a living, he has interests and inspirations in other areas. It is because of these that Matt started his foundation to help kids.
“I believe in helping out any way you can. I have very strong faith and was very active in our church growing up. I feel like there’s a real purpose for every person in life and believe we’re all here for a reason. I think we all need to help each other out, and honesty and accountability and working hard are things families embody and I personally embody,” he said.
What does he hope to accomplish with the Light Foundation?
“We want these kids to serve something bigger than themselves; they help others and help themselves by doing that. A lot of these kids, all they need is an opportunity. We use the outdoors as a real teaching tool and a way to get kids to open up. And with us, these kids aren’t given anything; we make them work for everything they achieve. But through that they understand and value hard work, they learn work ethic, and they become proud of what they do and want to share their accomplishments.”
“These kids are learning how to become great citizens, great neighbors, great friends. They’re learning how to be great people,” Matt said. “We’re helping them build that.”