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Annual fashion show empowers women with disabilities

On Saturday Northwoods Mall became a runway as 25 women with disabilities modeled clothes from Christopher & Banks at the third annual fashion show the store throws in collaboration with the Tazewell County Resource Center (TCRS).

“It was a blast and it and fabulous,” model Susan Anne Puttney said.

Puttney and the other models wore the spring collection from the store as family and friends cheered them on.

“I really had fun on the runway just doing my thing and it was a lot of fun,” model Anna Lynn Knochel said. “I’ve heard about this over the past two years and I seen other girls get involved with it and I just thought it would give me a chance to get out in the world.”

The idea for the fashion show came from an employee at the resource center who also works at the clothing store.

“We really believe in partnerships and really believe that the individuals with disabilities deserve an equal chance. To be able to do this fashion show and give them the chance runway models get has been great to watch,” TCRS Ceo Jamie Durdel said.

Durdel said the ladies look forward to the fashion show all year.

“We’ll go back to work and they’ll ask if we’re going to do it again and how soon because they’re so excited about it every single year,” he said. “I guarantee when we get back they’ll ask if we can do another one next week and we’ll say next year.

For Morton resident Joan Rice, having her daughter participate in the fashion show was a no brainer.

“I think it’s a good way for the general public to realize these young people with special needs are very much like the regular population. They have the same dreams, the same desires, the same goals, and the same abilities if given the chance,” Rice said.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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