By Shereen Siewert

After nearly two years of planning Wausau Pilot and Review is set to launch a new feature that aims to bring the community together through storytelling.

Made possible in part through a generous grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, Humans of Wausau will profile people living in and around Wausau.

A few years ago, my son showed me a copy of a book: “Humans of New York,” a collection of street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City by photographer Brandon Stanton and published first in a photoblog. The photos and brief stories mesmerized me, while at the same time sparking the realization that every single one of us on this planet has a unique story to tell. Thumbing through the pages, I started to wonder about the people in my own community, faces I see every day while walking down the street. What are their stories, I wondered? Who are they? What do they believe in? What experiences shaped them?

A handful of other projects similar to Humans of New York have cropped up across the country; most notably, the Humans of Minneapolis project. There, photographer Stephanie Glaros stops people on the sidewalks of Minneapolis to capture their portraits and fascinating stories, then publishes them online and on Facbook In a word, Glaros’ work has been incredible, and has helped connect the Minneapolis community in a truly creative way.

Starting this week, we’ll be publishing our own series of photos and interviews on our website and on social media. Later, we have plans to publish the collection in a book, and we’ve got other ideas we’re working through as well.

We are eternally grateful for the generous and early support of the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation to make this vision a reality, and can’t wait to share these stories with you.

Watch for Humans of Wausau, launching this week on Wausau Pilot and Review.