District 23 | Gwenn Goes Local & Fancy

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Ah guys this is my first post about a local clothing shop!

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some food, but I also love me some cute clothes where 100% of the shop’s proceeds go towards a wonderful cause.

This shop was actually started by a women right around the corner from my home in Springfield, and funny enough, I rode the school bus with both her daughters right up until my senior year of high school.

Here’s a little bit about Michelle, who started the shop, and District 23 itself!

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“Michelle Tjelmeland is the founder of the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation (CIAF) and District 23 Mercantile & Foundry, a store that benefits CIAF.                      After losing her hearing at age 25, Michelle found that another one of her senses – her sight – kicked into high gear…But here’s the thing – while Michelle is deaf, she actually can hear because of the miracle of cochlear implant technology. And Michelle’s daughter, Ellie, who was born deaf, can now hear as well…Michelle, hardly a shrinking violet, started the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation in 2005 to help other people who could benefit from cochlear implant technology. Since then, the organization has helped more than 850 families in their journeys to find information and resources about the surgery.”

Their retail shop, District 23, is 100% volunteer run and 100% of it’s proceeds go to fund CIAF. 

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How cool is that?!

So I was pulled to this little boutique by my giddy mother because of a little thing called a $10 rack. Come to find out, my momma and I scored matching dresses for $10 each, and I found a new place to shop locally.

And man did I find a place! District 23 is these 3 things:

Unique. I love when shops support groups and organizations, and the CIAF is a unique one in that for most of us, it is an organization that is not on our radar because CIAF is offering something that we easily take for granted. I think it is a beautiful thing to have something like a person’s hearing, something I rarely shoot a prayer of thankfulness up for, be supported through something that many can relate to: style. And CIAF is not the only unique thing offered through District 23. Three words: Unique, beautiful, CLOTHES. Need I say more?

Generous. This place is ran by all volunteers. Gosh volunteers blow my mind. Now that I am working in a church, I am behind the scenes, truly seeing all the work that has to be done- and the people who serve in the church, for no money or recognition, do so so much of that work. And that is how District 23 is ran- 100% volunteer so that 100% of the proceeds can go towards their cause. Isn’t that so great? And on top of that, they were handing out Easter eggs full of candy or ticket for a free item from the store, as well as free soda! Seriously so generous.

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What are you doing mom?

“Diggin’ for bargains.”

Vibrant Atmosphere. Now I got a little lucky and actually caught a beautiful Saturday morning in Illinois, and the bright sun shone all over this place when I walked in, highlighting the brightly colored clothing, jewelry, and everything else in between. This shop just screamed hope (in the least scariest way possible) in how beautiful the clothes looked and felt, how welcoming the workers were, and how every women there was ready to give, give, give.

So there you have it ladies and gentleman- a unique boutique for a beautiful cause! Check out their website for hours and a better picture of the boutique itself!

Until next time.

Peace & blessings,

Gwenndolyn

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