HOUSTON – With every bench press rep, Grant Stuard is making a difference.
Stuard, a University of Houston linebacker and first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection, participated in Friday’s Pro Day at the University of Houston.
The Conroe-native pledged his bench press reps to raise money for “Heels to Halos,” an organization that works to help women involved in sex trafficking. The money was raised online, with some opting to donate per rep, and some giving an outright donation.
“Actual work is being done in getting these women out of the sex industry, out of sex trafficking. And women who are recovering from sex trafficking, giving them an avenue in order to be supported and to be loved, and also a way to become a productive member of society again,” said Stuard.
Stuard goes to church with the founder of “Heels to Halos,” and believes in their holistic approach to helping women recover.
“With this specific organization, you don’t have to have insurance. There are no requirements,” Stuard explained. “All of your medical bills are paid for, dentistry, everything.”
If Stuard sounds passionate, it’s because this is deeply personal.
“My mom is a drug addict and she has worked in the sex industry,” explained Stuard. “It’s very difficult for somebody (whose) either struggling on drugs or in the sex industry. It’s very hard to get out.”
“Heels to Halos” helped Stuard find his mom care, but it didn’t last.
“Unfortunately, she ended up leaving the place early, so she’s still going through it,” Stuart said.
Stuard said a lack of resources makes it that much harder for women to recover from the lifestyle.
“It’s the whole reason I’m doing the bench press because the bench press is not going to make or break my draft stock,” he said. “It was an opportunity to do something good.”
Even though his mother has not recovered yet, he has hope.
“An organization like Heels to Halos shows you that if my mom ever has a change of heart and wants to get right, there’s an avenue.”
Stuard completed 28 bench press reps. Even though pro day is over, you can still learn about Heels to Halos here.