Though noticed more for his contributions on the field, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller continues to make a significant impact off the field.
Through his nonprofit, the Vonís Vision Foundation, in which the six-time All-Pro provides low-income Denver children with the eye care and corrective eyewear they need to be their best in the classroom and in life, Miller has provided much needed outreach to an overlooked demographic.
Most recently Vonís Vision raised over $400,000 at its inaugural Western Round-Up event. The event, held November 5th at Mile High Station and Ironworks, hosted more than 250 guests.
The foundation saw over $400,000 in support from the event, which included both a live and silent auction as well as a donation of $50,000 from Miller himself.
ďLife is bigger than football,Ē Miller said in a press release from the event. ďThe opportunity to bring these Vision Centers to the kids who need them where they are is the next level of my foundation. To be able to overcome the barriers of transportation will allow my foundation to serve more in-need students than ever.Ē
Several celebrities and athletes came out to support the cause including Denver native Matt Iseman. The host of ďAmerican Ninja WarriorĒ, comedian and actor was the eventís enthusiastic emcee, while celebrity auctioneer Matt Rogers - host of Discovery Channelís ďDeadliest CatchĒ - helmed the reigns at the live auction at Ironworks.
Among the teammates (both former and present) who attended the Western Round-Up were quarterbacks Case Keenum and Kevin Hogan, linebacker Bradley Chubb, tight ends Matt LaCosse and Brian Parker, former Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, safety Will Parks, offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson and cornerback Isaac Yiadom.
More than a fundraiser, the Western Round-Up placed its focus on the new program concept for Vonís Vision: the Vonís Vision Center. Similar to mobile health clinics that go to schools to tend to students and families in need, Millerís mobile vision center will be an active, mobile vision exam kiosk that will allow students access to eye exam services without having to find transportation to a clinic.
To that end the ribbon cutting ceremony of the first Vonís Vision Center will take place at the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club today.
Vonís Vision Foundation has not just attracted attention in Denver, either, as it recently received recognition from the NFL. At the end of October the NFL Foundation announced that it had awarded $5,000 to Vonís Vision Foundation through the Social Justice Grant. With the initiative to get its players to be more involved in social causes within their communities, the NFL Foundation was created.
Vonís Vision caught the leagueís attention through multiple, community-oriented events in 2018 including Vonís Vision Day at Hellerstein and Brenner Optical Center; a reveal party at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, where children are fitted for their glasses and then have them delivered by Miller in person; and Millerís inaugural Vision Day program at the campus of his alma mater, Texas A&M University. Nearly 400 students have been given the gift of sight through those programs.
Driving the effort behind Vonís Vision is the statistical data that shows the need for eye care services for low-income students.
According to the foundation, every year 5,000 low-income first grade students enter the Denver Public School System without ever seeing an eye doctor. More than 1,900 of them need glasses. The DPS system currently has more than 27,000 low-income students who need some level of vision correction.
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