Actor McConaughey’s foundation growing along with Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — The association with the Texas Rangers has paid off for actor Matthew McConaughey and his Just Keep Livin Foundation.

McConaughey was at the Rangers Youth Ballpark Saturday along with Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz to talk to students from Dallas Pinkston High School, Arlington Sam Houston High School and Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. The students had completed more than 2,000 hours of community service as well as shown improvement in their attendance and grades along as well as improved their physical goals.

The program has been partnered with the Rangers for more than two years and McConaughey likes the direction it’s going.

“It’s a little bit more of a well-oiled machine,” said McConaughey, who came up with idea of the program about eight years ago. “Like anything, if it’s built right in the beginning after a few years you start to see where it can improve and what’s really working, what’s not really working, what you need to work on, what you need to get rid of. We were pretty set up when we came in. Now we know what we need on the ground.”

The program is designed for Title I high schools and give kids opportunities they might not have otherwise had. It also has helped that the schools have embraced the program.

McConaughey started the program in California, but the native Texan believes it’s a natural fit in his home state. McConaughey, who came to the park Saturday along with his wife and children, now lives in the Austin area and can keep tabs on how the foundation is going. He’s had contact with Rick George, the team’s president of business operations, as well as Nolan Ryan.

Cruz, who answered questions from the students, also likes being involved.

“It’s a great thing for the kids,” Cruz said. “Teaching about health. Teaching about exercise. It goes a long way. It’s going to stay with you until you die. It’s a great thing when you start teaching about good stuff and stay out of trouble and do great things for the community.”