Craig's Closet

Heyward House brings ‘Craig’s Closet’ to 10 local schools

Steelers team captain Cameron Heyward has never forgotten stories about his father’s experiences when he arrived at Pitt to play football.

Craig “Ironhead” Heyward was one of six siblings growing up in a single-parent household. Money was tight, and he owned just one suit to meet the formal wear requirement for Pitt Panthers on game days. Cam knew how that made his dad feel. So through a partnership between the Heyward House foundation and Sport Clips, he helped developed a program called Craig’s Closet to provide high school boys access to new and gently used dress clothes at no cost.

Craig's Closet
Cam Heyward and Superintendent Wayne Walters cut the ribbon to open the first Craig’s Closet, located at Pittsburgh Obama 6-12. Photo courtesy of PPS.

The goal of Craig’s Closet is to help students feel prepared and confident at interviews, internships, banquets and special occasions, and encourage these young men to walk proudly into any situation.

“Many young people in our community face the same plight as my father, and I want them to know that they are seen, heard, and through this program, we are here to support them as they push forward in their future goals,” Heyward said in a Sept. 27 announcement about the program. “Yesterday would have been my father’s 56th birthday. He was a man that took great joy and pride in his family and his community. I am proud to continue his legacy of giving back and helping move our community forward.”

Craig's Closet
A student tries on a suit as the first Craig’s Closet opens. Photo courtesy of PPS.

At the first location, now open at Pittsburgh Obama 6-12, young men can “shop” for items including dress shirts, suits, clothes, and ties right at their own school. And students at nine more Pittsburgh Public School buildings will have the same opportunity. Additional Craig’s Closet outposts will be opening at Pittsburgh Allderdice, Brashear, CAPA, Carrick, Milliones, Perry, Sci-Tech, Student Achievement Center and Westinghouse by 2023.

“Thanks to the Heyward House and Sport Clips, ‘what to wear’ will not be a barrier for our high school boys seeking to pursue their goals and interests,” said Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Dr. Wayne Walters. “We are truly thankful for this gift that honors the legacy of Cam’s father by giving students the confidence they need to walk into the spaces where they belong.”

Community members interested in volunteering or donating to Craig’s Closet can reach out to Nicole Williams at Monetary and in-kind donations of new and gently used items are being accepted.

Want to see more stories about good things happening in the Pittsburgh community? Check out this recent KDKA story about a local family receiving a life-saving gift.