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How The ‘She Said’ Project Aims To Empower Women And Teens In C-U And Beyond

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Jenette Jurczyk is the national director of the She Said Project.

CHAMPAIGN — “That’s What She Said” will be taking the stage for its sixth installment this Saturday night at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign. 

Ten women from the Champaign-Urbana area will share personal stories in a monologue format.

The She Said Project’s national director, Jenette Jurczyk, said every performance is “like a window and a mirror.”

“The women who are sitting in the audience listening are just as important as (the women) standing on the stage and sharing that story,” Jurczyk said. “Having someone react to your story and listen and nod in solidarity, and cry and laugh with you, is part of the intimacy and the power that is ‘That’s What She Said.’” 

Jurczyk discussed the idea behind “That’s What She Said” in an interview with Illinois Newsroom:

Jurczyk said that after five years of productions in Champaign-Urbana, the She Said Project is expanding into additional communities nationwide. In 2019, the group hosted a show in Bloomington. Plans for 2020 include shows in Peoria as well as Athens, Ohio.

Among the She Said project’s other initiatives is a podcast, produced in partnership with Illinois Public Media, and a program that aims to empower teen girls to tell their stories.

This year’s “That’s What Teens Say” event will take place Feb. 28 through Mar. 1.

The confidence-building curriculum was created by Jurczyk and Erin Tarr with the organization “Be the Benchmark.” 

The program provides 10 to 15 teen girls with three days of intensive training in public speaking, improv, team-building and storytelling, and will culminate this year with a live performance at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign.

“We have been absolutely blown away by the topics that these girls bring to the table and the things that they’re willing to share because we are willing to listen,” Jurczyk said.

This year’s teen’s event is in partnership with the Champaign Park District, with the support of several community sponsors.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

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Christine Herman

Christine Herman

Christine Herman is a Ph.D. chemist turned audio journalist who covers health for the Illinois Newsroom. Her reporting for Illinois Public Media/WILL has received awards from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Public Media Journalists Association and has reached both regional and national audiences through WILL's health reporting partnership with Side Effects Public Media, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Christine started at WILL in 2015.

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