PBS fundraiser special. It’s a Saturday evening. Families are watching around the nation, and world famous life coach Anton Bobbins has a five round interview planned for intermissions between a screening of “The Nutcracker”. It’s Christmas, 2021. I am the final interviewee.
I stroll into the studio, Anton stands to greet me. With great confidence and happiness, and a wide smile on my face, I try to make my teeth as big as his. Smiles are contagious, and as I shake his hand, I realize he’s actually shorter in real life.
Anton: Hello Orren, I’ve been really looking forward to this moment ever since I heard about your LEAP program.
We sit down, facing each other across a coffee table. I take a drink of water, Anton continues…
Anton: So, what was it, about a year ago I think when I stumbled across the first episode I ever saw- it was because a client of mine who lives in an assisted living arrangement had called me about some business, and in passing mentioned this great documentary he was watching that was produced just for him! He was so excited! Tell me, when and where did you get the inspiration for what has now become a nationwide phenomena?
Orren: Where do I start? Well, I have always been a creative person. I even remember a line that my 3rd grade elementary teacher wrote in my ‘yearbook’- by the way, he is one of the best teachers I knew, so anyone out there, I am imploring you, if it is your profession and passion to teach or influence, never ever doubt that you are having an effect. Probably greater than you could imagine. Anyway, he signed my yearbook with a line that said, ‘To the boy who can make something out of nothing, keep being creative!’ Being creative, whether with the arts or with metal, at fabrication shops or with wood, basically anything, if it could be bent, molded, colored, etc. I was doing it somehow. And I finally saw something, a need I guess, where I could take the three things I love most in the arts that I feel convey the most energy universally for anyone, and channel it all into one service where not only my passions could be met but where a genuine heartfelt service could be provided that would really enhance a persons’ life for the better. See, where I lived, my grandmother passed away at a local residency home. I visited her quite often while she was there, and I know the staff was top notch and did everything they could to make her as comfortable as possible and to create as enjoyable an environment as they could. Years later, after having a hobby business in the entertainment and live production field, I had acquired more of a passion for music and video production than I had expected, and I also enjoyed performing live, as I too really love the interactive experience from the audience and the speaker. One day it just hit me- volunteer at the place where my grandmother had been and make documentaries about the things these residents would like to see. I had all the equipment necessary from my business, which mainly sat dormant most of the time, so the resources were already there to present a gift to these people on a play by play individual basis, and it brings a sense of meaning and intimacy to the table that I just don’t feel when dealing with more broad range subject matter. I remember, I was on lunch break at the trucking company I was working for at the time, and I just got fed up with this idea, walked in to the residency home in full coveralls, dirty- I was doing a lot of welding that day- and pitched the idea and became a volunteer that week. The rest is history.
Anton: That’s amazing! From conception to massive action, without hesitation. Sometimes all it takes is BELIEF!
Orren: Absolutely. Oddly enough, that was the second place I pitched the idea to. The first place shot it down. But I believed in it, because I believed that it would be good and bring good to people.
Anton: So tell me, after the program took off at the first local place, how did it evolve from there?
Orren: That’s the most amazing part, Anton. See, I am and have always been a do it yourself and do it alone type. Often, before I start any project, I make sure I have everything I need so that I can guarantee I can follow through to the end of the project. But with this, I couldn’t do it all alone. So as soon as I started telling a few people about it, all of a sudden all this support from other people just started flowing in. Contributors, administrative support, marketing support, technical donations, you name it. We have even been blessed with corporate sponsorship and support by being allowed to be beta testers of new production equipment for Sonii. It’s unbelievable! And now, the LEAP program, or Life Enhancement Audiovisual Program, is in every state and growing fast! Many of the residency homes already have a network of volunteers to help out, and now our program facilitates training on the personal and production side of LEAP. So basically, all anyone has to do is just contact us and we offer support to get more of this program into the hands of the residents who receive it.
Anton: That’s awesome! Now, on top of that, I also found out you have a book series that is tied into LEAP somehow. Tell me about that. Isn’t it a childrens book of some sort?
Orren: Yes, actually it is. One of my friends has a daughter who has always loved to draw. She asked me one day to draw something with her. So it kind of became our thing together. Well, one day I asked her for a piece of paper and a pencil, and out of that came Harold L Kramer, Vampseal.
Anton holds up the first printed copy of the the series…
Orren: It’s about a Vampire Seal who solves mysteries along his coast with his friends. It uses some complicated words, deductive reasoning, and can really present a healthy challenge to a young inquisitive mind. I love hearing parents complain about having to look up words with their kids that they don’t know, I mean, what an awesome problem to to have! And kids are intelligent. I just figured I would bring a book to them that would use words that could give them a better arsenal of language for their future than what is normally presented to them. Plus, look at Harold! How can you not love a Vampseal? And, all proceeds are directly funneled to the LEAP program, so it’s kind of having an impact across a multi-generational spread of people.
Anton: Wow. All that just from a desire to see a need and fill it. One last thing, Orren. I know you are passionate about music and the arts, but recently something else happened that made a particularly painful past situation turn into a situation room for your passions and this entire program. Would you be willing to share your story about that if it’s not too intrusive?
Orren: Well sure Anton. Life is odd enough when we are born into it. We don’t get to choose what our family of origin is, or where we will be born. And things can be pretty confusing along the way. I happened to be raised in a cult, and that really had some damaging effects compounded by a lot of familial difficulties. I didn’t get a choice in those things, being a kid and all. But when this whole LEAP program started taking off, I realized the need for a production house of sorts. It just so happened that the building where I had so many not so great experiences and memories where this religion was practiced was up for sale. And due to it’s particulars of construction and interior and exterior design, it lent itself perfectly to the needs of a recording and production studio. So now it is a place of creative good rather than a place of painful memories. It is just another way the universe conspires to transform things if we just keep an open eye out for our service to it.
Anton: What an amazing journey! Say, I really want to thank you for coming to visit us here tonight and to share your story. It’s really an inspiring path you’ve decided to walk, and I look forward to seeing the growth in LEAP for years to come! Thanks again Orren!
Orren: Thank you Anton. Every person has a gift within them, and as I get to share mine I am constantly impressed and inspired by seeing others manifest their gifts as well, so thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight!