San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis paid a special visit to the 49ers Academy for his day off on Tuesday, October 14 to spend some time with the students.
Prior to the visit, Davis had donated $7,500 in Under Armour gear for the school's physical education program, in hopes of helping the East Palo Alto students succeed in their endeavors. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders will use the apparel as uniforms for their after school volleyball, soccer and basketball programs.
To show their appreciation, the 49ers Academy students surprised Davis by donning the uniforms just before his arrival so that the tight end could see his purchase in action. Davis was moved by the gesture.
"It made me so proud," Davis said. "They were so excited. They were just jumping around. They even made me a card with my picture on it to tell me how much they loved the Under Armour gear."
Davis, an Under Armour spokesperson, supports the mission of the 49ers Academy, which serves low-income minority youth who benefit from a nurturing and personalized educational environment. The school, a public school alternative, provides a hands-on learning experience for hard-to-reach students. After school programs at the 49ers Academy, including physical education and group sports, are an important part of the students' development.
"I'm glad they are able to use the uniforms for the P.E. programs," Davis said. "But it's not just about physical education. The kids don't have much, so they cherish anything that someone gives them. Especially when it's an athlete or a celebrity, or just someone you look up to – as a kid, you're going to appreciate that because it's from them."
To show how important physical education is to Davis, he volunteered to participate in multiple P.E. classes at the 49ers Academy on Tuesday. He served as an Assistant P.E. Coach, giving the youth some fitness tips and participated in a basketball game. He also spent some free time with the students, answering questions about his career and giving advice about staying in school, avoiding trouble and having big dreams.
"I gave them some advice and they asked me all kind of fun personal questions," Davis laughed. "But the best was, they were playing basketball in the gymnasium and one of the kids wanted to dunk the basketball. So I picked him up and put him to the hoop, and he got to feel what it was like to dunk the ball."
A native of the Washington D.C. area, Davis is fully committed to supporting both of his hometown communities. As well as participating in service events around the Bay Area and giving back to local students, Davis has also donated $10,000 to the Newborn Pentecostal Church in Maryland, in honor of his grandmother, Abilene Davis. The dedicated player, along with his six siblings, was raised by his grandmother. Davis has pledged to make the donation annually to help the church refurbish and expand their building.