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The Leap


From a doctor’s controversial LSD treatments to a mother’s high-risk efforts to recover her abducted child to a punk rock pioneer’s radical career reinvention, these are stories of people making dramatic, risky changes—and the big and small decisions...Show More
Suddenly Everyone’s Favorite Communist

33:02 | Jul 24th, 2018

Brace Belden was 27 when he snuck into Syria to enlist in a Kurdish militia, leaving his girlfriend, job, and hometown of San Francisco behind. Even he thought it was a dumb idea, but it was also a chance to finally put his beliefs into action.
I’m Your Man

55:32 | Jul 10th, 2018

April hasn't seen Steve in 15 years. So when she gets a call from a lawyer asking about him, she's not sure what to think. As memories from long ago crowd her mind, she's also confronted by an ugly new truth. One that haunts her present and makes her...Show More

27:33 | Jun 26th, 2018

Daley Dunham was a junior in college at UC Berkeley when he decided to donate sperm. He likened it to donating blood -- an opportunity to do something good for a person in need. Except when you donate blood, you don’t get a tidal wave of children cra...Show More
The Company We Keep

30:22 | Jun 12th, 2018

Stories of unlikely friendships. A man finds himself the sole confidant of an eccentric old man. A woman finds companionship with a catfish that leads her on a journey to the Amazon.
Her Double Life

26:54 | May 29th, 2018

My Linh Le has been lying to her parents about who she is for decades. When she’s with them, she gives them the daughter they want, and she keeps the truth about who she is to herself. But then one night, My Linh has a strange dream and wakes up wond...Show More
Little Girl Lost

38:17 | May 15th, 2018

Sunday, December 9, 1984 is a day Beth McGhee will never forget. It’s the day her three year-old daughter, Neola, vanished, kidnapped by her ex-husband. As Beth launched into the painful search for Neola, she had no idea how long she would be waiting...Show More
Listener Stories – A Boat, a Baby and the Blue Skies of Montana

40:40 | May 9th, 2017

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...Show More
An Unorthodox Life

33:45 | Apr 25th, 2017

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 conf...Show More
The Elementary Kool-Aid Acid Test

32:37 | Apr 11th, 2017

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 b...Show More
Mirror Mirror

28:33 | Mar 28th, 2017

Jill Sutherland 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 ...Show More
The Big Pitch

22:53 | Mar 14th, 2017

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...Show More
Out of the Pond

35:54 | Feb 28th, 2017

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 b...Show More
My Name Is Shawn and I Prefer He

21:36 | Dec 16th, 2015

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.
Caught in a Pipe

18:27 | Dec 3rd, 2015

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.
The Improbable Transformation of a Punk Pioneer

25:22 | Nov 18th, 2015

James Williamson became a punk rock legend as part the 1970s band The Stooges. But, a few years into it, he just walked away.
When a Stranger Gives You $125 Million

24:07 | Nov 3rd, 2015

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.
The Dinner Date

20:08 | Oct 20th, 2015

Two friends, brought together in a tragic coincidence, take a leap back out of the darkness.
The Strange Journey of the World’s Worst Smell

23:14 | Oct 6th, 2015

What does the smell of butt crack and dead animal have to do with the demise of the American manufacturing industry and the battlefields of Iraq?
Welcome to The Leap

04:21 | Oct 1st, 2015

The Leap is about what it takes to start out one place and end up somewhere, or someone, else. Here's a sample of what you will hear on the podcast.