Jaden Williams of Denver was having trouble in class, and his mother didn’t know what was wrong. “We thought it was a behavior problem in the classroom that he never wanted to sit in the back or the middle, always at the front,” the boy’s mother, Teresa Williams, says. “But then we found out he couldn’t see the board.”
Finances were tight for the Williams family, but Von’s Vision, the charitable organization started by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, assisted Jaden’s mom with providing eye care. Williams brought her son to Von’s Vision Day last year where he received a free eye exam, and soon after, new glasses. The experience turned her son’s classroom troubles around. This year, mother and son returned to Von’s Vision Day to keep Jaden’s prescription updated. “Having Von Miller do this event is a blessing,” Williams says.
Von’s Vision has served more than 2,000 low income Denver youth in need of eye care since it began in 2012. Several Von’s Vision Days are held each year during which children can receive free eye screenings and eye exams from professional optometrists and opticians, as well as glasses from retailers who partner with Von’s Vision.
Once the exams are complete and prescription eyeglass lenses are cut, Von Miller hosts reveal parties, during which the children can meet and talk about glasses with Miller while their glasses are fitted. “I”ve been wearing glasses all my lifeit’s dear to my heart,” Miller says in a video for Von’s Vision. “I can truly relate to kids that (find out) all they need are glasses to be successful in the classroom.”
Von’s Vision invites children from select public schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and other organizations to receive screenings. Children must sign up, then show up for their appointment time. Another partnership with VSP Global’s mobile vision clinics allows Von’s Vision to screen, prescribe, and dispense designer glasses in a matter of minutes to some of the program’s participants.
Soon, Von’s Vision will be able to help even more students who may have had an eye exam, but can’t afford glasses. Von’s Vision–All Year Long program will be piloted in three schools this year. Pre-approved schools will be given a private link where students will be able to shop online for frames, with help from school staff. Schools are given Von’s Vision gift card vouchers with a specific code, which is required to process the order. Glasses will be shipped and distributed to the students at school, once they are ready.
“Giving the gift of sight is a true blessing,” says Miller in the video, “and I’m grateful for everyone that’s involved.”
HOW FAMILIES CAN HELP
- Volunteer your time if you are an eye care professional, doctor, optician, or eye care retailer. Von’s Vision is always looking to partner with such professionals in different capacities.
- Add your name to the waitlist to be considered as a Von’s Vision community volunteer. Currently, the community volunteer list is full.
- Purchase tickets and attend Von Miller’s Fifth Annual Celebrity Steak-Out on November 13, presented by Andrea and Matt Flanagan, at Ritz-Carlton Denver. Von Miller and his Broncos teammates will personally serve attendees of the event. Funds raised will support programs of Von’s Vision. Make reservations at vonmiller.org.