HAMMOND — “Here I am, this kid from the middle of nowhere, who had no idea that you could get a scholarship to play in college — let alone never thought about playing in the NFL — you know, suddenly you know, is living this incredible lifestyle and what can I do to impact others?” said Matt Light, a former NFL player and Purdue University graduate.
Light is helping Hoosier teens become better leaders through his foundation, "The Light Foundation."
The goal of The Light Foundation is to help kids become R.E.A.L: Responsible, ethical, and accountable leaders.
A year five teen from Hammond completed the four-year program.
“I loved it all, it was, it was the greatest experience of my life and I'm never going to leave it,” said Hayden Lewter, a senior at Morton High School in Hammond.
He was one of five teens chosen from the northern part of the state to join The Light Foundation’s Leadership Academy, a four-year commitment.
“We're having fun, yes, overall. So like becoming better or being better leaders, better teammates, and we don't realize that until we come back home and we actually incorporate everything that we learned in everything that we did into our real lives. Whether it's at work, school, sports, or anything else community service,” said Lewter.
The Light Foundation was started in 2001 by Purdue graduate and former NFL player Matt Light.
He and his wife Susie created The Light Foundation to help young people develop the skills, values and mindset they need to be champions in the game of life.
“My grandmother said to whom much is given much is required I thought she wrote that but I found out that that wasn't really who said that first but it really reminded me that you know look do something big with what you've been given and that was really the impetus behind the light foundation,” said Light.
This year, five seniors from Hammond graduated from the program after spending four summers with The Light Foundation.
“We got to meet them because my wife Susie grew up in Hammond and she has a really strong connections or family and her friends there and we want to impact that community, so we've been blessed to work with these young men for the last four years,” said Light.
Lewter said the experience is something he will take with him for the rest of his life.
“The four years of going there are done, and the visits and everything are done, but The Light Foundation stays with you,” said Lewter.
The Light Foundation is based out of Greenville, Ohio and each year they pick teens from across the country to join their leadership academy. You can learn more about The Light Foundation here.