Stephanie Glaros is Founder and Executive Director of the storytelling nonprofit Humans of Minneapolis. She has created community engagement projects for the City of Minneapolis, Metro Meals on Wheels, Friends of the Hennepin County Library, and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. Her work has been featured in the Star-Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, City Pages, and on MPR, KARE11, FOX9 and WCCO. Glaros also leads talks and workshops that focus on empathy and connection.
In 2010, I lived and worked in downtown Minneapolis. I encountered people from many backgrounds on my walk to the office every day, but we would usually ignore each other. I began to feel uncomfortable with that. I started using my camera as an excuse to interact with them. I asked people if I could take their picture, which often led to short conversations. I began making connections with people who I may not have otherwise. I called the series of portraits Minneapolis Strangers. That project eventually evolved into Humans of Minneapolis, inspired by Humans of New York.
My process involves making a connection with someone I don’t know, listening to their story, and documenting the interaction. I share the results on social media. With luck, my followers may also feel a connection to that person. They often respond with positive words of encouragement and even offer help. When my subjects discover these expressions of kindness, the circle becomes complete.
My practice allows me to utilize my gift for connecting with all types of people in order to reveal our struggles and the things we all share in common. My mission is to inspire others to connect with strangers and make the world a more welcoming place for everybody.