Thu, 01 Jun 2023

Community Corner: Dressed for success

The Steelers
31 Mar 2023, 05:30 GMT+10

Teresa Varley

March 29, 2023

Dressed for success: Cameron Heyward and The Heyward House hosted the second annual Suiting Up for Success Soiree at the Grand Concourse, celebrating the accomplishments of local high school seniors.

Heyward celebrated 36 male high school seniors from 12 high schools in the Pittsburgh area, all chosen by their schools for their leadership, character and ability to overcome challenges faced by today's youth. The Heyward House provided each of them with a custom suit from Surmesur, and all the accessories through his 'Craig's Closet' program, as well as a photo shoot and a private dinner with Heyward.

"This is our second event like this, so it's even better," said Charlotte Heyward, Heyward's mom and the executive director of the foundation. "It is a blessing in so many different ways. The feedback we have gotten back from parents, counselors, the young men themselves, you don't realize how much a suit and the small amount of recognition from our foundation means to them. Last year we had one young man come up to me in tears. He told me thank you so much for everything. It was his first suit, and he was so excited. It's just a blessing.

"This is what it's for. Cam and the foundation don't do anything for recognition. We do a lot of stuff that we don't talk about. We just want to help people. When you have been blessed, you have to give back. That is a duty. It's what God has given us to do."

The students also received guidance from business leaders in different fields, including a trade school, local authors, collegiate admission directors and Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, on hand to show his support of Heyward's charitable efforts.

Craig's Closet has been a staple for The Heyward House since 2018, launched in honor of his late father, Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward, who died from a brain tumor in 2006, at just 39 years old.

His father played football at the University of Pittsburgh, and when he arrived as a freshman running back, he had only one suit, something he was grateful to have since he came from a single-parent home with six siblings.

With so many young men in Pittsburgh facing the same challenge of not having a suit that they could wear to a job interview, internship, events and more, Heyward produced a plan. Craig's Closet provides free dress clothes to help young men as they move forward in life, and the Suiting Up for Success program is an extension of that.

"The idea came from my dad," said Heyward. "When he grew up, he only had one suit. A lot of his friends didn't have suits at all. This is a creative way we thought of to give back to the community and help prepare young men for jobs, or homecoming, moving forward in life. You never know how much a suit can help you present yourself."

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