Who is an NFL player that inspired you to create your foundation Von’s Vision?
“My rookie season it started with [former Broncos QB] Tim Tebow. I went to his foundation and saw all of the amazing stuff he was doing. I wanted to do the same things [and] that’s how it all started for me.”
What led you to establish Von’s Vision as your designated foundation?
“I didn’t want to do a football camp or something football-related. I wanted to go outside the box and do something different that nobody else was doing. I was just sitting around one day looking at my glasses and I started talking about glasses with my agent—my agent wears glasses too. He said, ‘I remember when I was young and only had one pair of glasses.’ And I said, ‘Man, I remember that too!’ That’s where it all started for me; I figured I could give glasses to kids in need.”
How does Von’s Vision work?
“First we look to identify kids that need glasses. We work with the Denver Boys & Girls Clubs and schools in Denver to identify kids that need glasses. The teachers are the ones who know the most about which kids need glasses. So we start by giving those guys free eye exams and go from there. It doesn’t even matter if they’re low-income or anything like that, it just starts by identifying kids in need of glasses.”
Do you can help fight the stereotype that glasses aren’t “cool” when kids see a guy like you wearing glasses?
“Yeah, most definitely. Glasses haven’t always been cool and I’ve been a geek my whole life. It’s just something that if I can be the ‘cool’ guy that wears the glasses and it helps a little kid here want to wear glasses because I doing it, then I’m doing my job.”
What is your annual Von’s Vision Day?
“We bring about 400 kids and we get those kids free eye exams and we have them to pick out eye glasses—out of the kids that fail the eye exam. Then we get them glasses and have a whole day of passing out those glasses to the kids in need.”
How did having the support of more than 40 teammates at your Celebrity Steakout last month help raise more than $150,000 for Von’s Vision?
“It would have been impossible without the support of my teammates. I’ve got a lot of big-time guys on my team. That’s just the type of team we’ve got, they all reach out and we do that for each other. It was amazing to have all of those guys there to support me.”
Why is it so important to you to be involved with the Denver Broncos’ community work in addition to your personal work with Von’s Vision?
“Just like the Spiderman quote: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ It’s just something that I feel I have to do.”