The Leap KQED's storytelling podcast about people making dramatic, risky changes, told by award-winning public radio reporters Amy Standen and Judy Campbell.
The Leap

The Leap

From KQED

KQED's storytelling podcast about people making dramatic, risky changes, told by award-winning public radio reporters Amy Standen and Judy Campbell.More from The Leap »

Most Recent Episodes

S2 Episode 6: Listener Stories- A Boat, a Baby and the Blue Skies of Montana

We've been asking for your stories, and on the last episode of Season 2, we highlight three of our listeners' leaps. Gavin McClurg embarked on a death-defying adventure on the Pacific that changed the direction of his life. Amy Gotliffe decided to adopt a baby as a single mother, an experience that brought her both joy and heartbreak. And, at 58 years of age, Bette Giordano left her husband, her ailing father and her way of life for a journey of self discovery in the West.

S2 Episode 6: Listener Stories- A Boat, a Baby and the Blue Skies of Montana

S2 Episode 5: An Unorthodox Life

Henny Kupferstein grew up in the Belz sect of ultra-orthodox, Hasidic Jews in Borough Park, Brooklyn. From early childhood, she felt like a misfit. After getting married to a virtual stranger at age 18, Henny began secretly rebelling against the confines of her sect. When she was 34, a startling diagnosis would lead her on a dramatic path away from the Belz and everyone she knew, including her four children. You can read about Henny's work with autistic kids and her book, Perfect Pitch in the Key of Autism, on her website. Music for this episode was composed by Nicholas DePrey, Chris Colin, Seth Samuel, and Henny Kupferstein.

S2 Episode 4: The Elementary Kool-Aid Acid Test

In the early 1960's, a psychologist named Gary Fisher carried out a radical experiment on severely emotionally disturbed children at a residential hospital in Southern California. Fisher believed these children's behavioral problems could be traced back to profound trauma they had suffered in their early childhoods, but had never adequately processed. He thought very large doses of LSD might cure them. Whether Fisher's experiment was reckless or whether it was heroic depends on how you think about science, and what risks we're willing to take in pursuit of something groundbreaking. Nancy, a patient at Fairview Developmental Center in the 1960s, before she began LSD treatment with Gary Fisher. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Before treatment, Nancy spent much of her time in restraints, in order to keep her from injuring herself. (Courtesy of Erowid and Gary Fisher's family/ KQED) Nancy, after beginning treatment with Gary Fisher, cutting cake at a birthday party. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) After receiving large doses of LSD and psilocybin, Nancy (center) was no longer injuring herself, according to Fisher and Fairview records. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Psychologist Gary Fisher and Nancy. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Fairview psychologist Gary Fisher (far left) and Nancy (center) in the 1960s. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Psychologist Gary Fisher tried LSD for the first time in 1959. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Gary Fisher holding his daughter, Bess. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Fisher and Bess. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Recent photo of Fairview Developmental Center, a hospital for individuals with developmental disabilities. California plans to close this center by 2021. (Courtesy of Fairview Developmental Center/ KQED) Recent photo of a hallway in Fairview Developmental Center. (Courtesy of The Center for Investigative Reporting/ KQED)

S2 Episode 3: Mirror Mirror

Jill Sutherlin has been numbing her feelings of emptiness with food, drugs and alcohol since she was a child growing up in California's Central Valley. Several years ago she did something she's always wanted to do, something she didn't know she was capable of. She embarked on an extreme weight loss plan and lost more than 200 pounds in just over a year. Everyone told her she looked amazing. But she knew something was wrong.

S2 Episode 2: The Big Pitch

San Francisco International High School is the city's only high school exclusively for recently arrived immigrants. But you can also think of it as a factory. What comes in are immigrant teenagers speaking 18 different languages, including Arabic, Russian, Tagalog and Spanish. Many haven't been to school in years. Some have never used a three-ring binder, navigated a city or shared a classroom with a member of the opposite sex. What's intended to come out are Americans with the full range of American options: go to college, be a scholar, a scientist, an engineer. Every teacher here believes education is central to improving your life. But the students don't always feel that way, at least at first. Seth Samuel composed the music for this piece.

S2 Episode 1: Out of the Pond

Tesilya Hanauer grew up on a commune deep in a Northern California forest. When she was five, her mother joined a nomadic group of people whose philosophy involved breaking the bond between mother and child. They were called the Shivalila, and they believed that if parental bonds were severed, a communal consciousness might emerge that could eventually transform society. Over the next few years, Tesilya would follow them from California to the Philippines to rural India, hoping always for a glimpse of the mother she once had. Nicholas DePrey composed the music for this piece.

S1 Episode 6: My Name Is Shawn and I Prefer He

Lately we've heard a lot of stories about people who, after years in the closet, found the courage to come out as transgender. But for Shawn, courage was never the problem.

S1 Episode 5: Caught in a Pipe

It started with a knocking sound, then whispers, then the strange conviction that he could read people's minds. In this story, we meet Frankie as he sprints away from his history of mental illness and toward the "normal" life he always wanted.

S1 Episode 4: The Improbable Transformation of a Punk Pioneer

James Williamson became a punk rock legend as part the 1970s band The Stooges. But, a few years into it, he just walked away.

S1 Episode 3: When a Stranger Gives You $125 Million

After a Seattle businessman left his fortune to a San Francisco blindness organization, its director went in search of an explanation. He found a secret the two men had shared.

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