Telling your story into The She Said microphone is no joke. It takes self-assurance, courage, and a lot of preparation to feel confident. And even then, the stage can feel daunting to the wisest and most experienced women.
Now consider the courage that it takes for 13 to 18-year-old young women to tell their stories in front of an audience.
A pretty impressive feat, right?
But that’s exactly what happens during the That’s What Teens Say weekend program.
What is That’s What Teens Say?
You might know that The She Said Project started with three girlfriends who wanted to find a way to make the world a better place for their daughters. The She Said Project is our platform to allow women to be heard and seen and connect with other women.
That’s What Teens Say was created out of a desire to empower our teens to do the same. We created a curriculum full of confidence-boosting exercises, creative writing, and public speaking coaching that encourages them to find their story, own their story and share their story.
Nominated by teachers, parents, coaches, and mentors, these young women come together from different schools and different backgrounds. They give up their phones for 3 days in exchange for a chance to step outside of their comfort zone and be truly seen and heard by their peers, their family and friends, and their community.
Why Does It Matter?
We like to think that the experience at That’s What Teens Say is unique. After all, when was the last time your daughter or student spent three days without her cell phone?
But beyond the beautiful disconnection from technology, girls at That’s What Teens Say get to learn about themselves and each other in deeply reflective and creative ways.
By the end of the weekend, girls will:
- Discover new communication styles
- Build confidence
- Increase connection and compassion toward other participants who, a few days ago, were complete strangers
- And get a chance to practice being courageous on stage
At the end of the weekend, each young woman has the opportunity to tell her own story on the microphone in front of an audience. We’ve had young women bravely stand in front of the microphone and tell stories of learning disabilities, coming out, friendship, anxiety, divorce, and more.
The act of telling these stories on the stage gives each young woman the opportunity to exercise her voice. In doing so, she experiences how her unique story can contribute positively to her community and the world.
It’s powerful to watch young women connect with each other’s stories, realize that they’re not alone in their struggles, and lift one another up.
How to get involved
We’re gearing up for our eighth installment of That’s What Teens Say in our flagship community of Champaign-Urbana.
We are launching this fall in the communities of Bloomington-Normal and Peoria.