One listener’s question turns into three radio stories

We’ve got a pretty cool project at Michigan Radio where listeners can ask us a question, and we’ll find out the answer. It’s called MI Curious and you can check it out here.

Someone wanted to know what it was like to grow up in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit. So I looked into it, and I ended up producing three stories to answer that one question.

Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson & Diana Ross of The Supremes all grew up in the Brewster Douglass projects (Credit Nationaal Archief (Dutch National Archives)

Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson & Diana Ross of The Supremes all grew up in the Brewster-Douglass projects (Credit Nationaal Archief /Dutch National Archives)

The first story is a history lesson, called Here’s why the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects were built.

In the second story we hear from former residents, including Mary Wilson from The Supremes. That’s called Motown legend says Brewster-Douglass taught her “people are people.” Most of the folks in this story are in their seventies and eighties, so they experienced a more positive side of the projects.

Finally we hear from former resident and comedian Loni Love. She grew up in the projects in the 70s and 80s and she describes both the positive and negative aspects of her childhood. Listen to her story called Growing up in the Brewster Projects gave this comedian a nitty-gritty toughness.

Personal trainer teaches clients to love their bodies

Laura Sprague stretches anywhere & everywhere. One of the first things she told me, just after we met, was that she doesn’t sit in chairs. So we did this interview on her living room floor, while she did yoga poses and stretched around me.

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Sprague calls herself a personal trainer, self-esteem coach, and body-love specialist. She shared her very personal story about how she developed this unique perspective on physical health, after overcoming sexual trauma, self-abuse, poverty, and other issues.

You can listen here:

When it comes to homeless youth, don’t judge a book by its cover

Lawyer Robert Sporny shared his story with me about being a homeless teenager. Sporny was adopted as a baby. Life with his adopted family was difficult and filled with abuse and alcoholism.  On the last day of high school, he left home for good. Overall, he was homeless for one year.


Thank you Robert for speaking from the heart about your life experiences. I was moved by our conversation. -Kyle



Whose stories do history groups tell?

I looked at what struggling historic groups can do to attract more people. Turns out one thing they can do is tell stories from a wider range of perspectives and points-of-view.

That’s certainly one reason I never cared much about history during school–because I never felt like I was hearing about people who I could personally relate to. And I certainly never heard about women during any kind of education about history.

Funny that now as an adult, I’m super-geeking about history, and really loving learning about all kinds of people and stories from back-in-the-day.