Josh Rhim, a senior public relations and communications major, spends his Sundays in New York City cutting hair for those in need.
Each week, he says the thing to homeless people: “Hi, my name is Josh. I am a barber from New Jersey. I like to give back to the community every Sunday, would you like me to cut your hair? This one’s on me today.”
Rhim said he started cutting people’s hair in February 2015, beginning in his hometown of Seattle, Wash.
Rhim said he began cutting his friends’ hair during his senior year of high school. Before that, he cut his own hair. “For two years I had the worst barbers there, so I decided to do it myself. That’s how I started,” Rhim said. “And let me tell you, I was just messing myself up. But eventually, I got to the point where my skills got good.”
Eventually, when Rhim came to Seton Hall as a freshman, he said he continued his passion of cutting hair in other’s dorm rooms and says that he had cut the hair of as many as up to 70 students.
“I think from the moment I met Josh, I knew he was passionate about serving his community,” said Daniel Voronin, a senior international relations and economics major. “Not only did he cut the hair of friends and brothers in our bathroom for free, but I remember he even visited incarcerated refugees on weekends in order to provide them with encouragement in regards to their immigration status in America.”
Rhim said, “I can’t thank my fraternity enough. A lot of them trusted me when I first came to Seton Hall as a freshman, when I was cutting hair in the dorms. For three years they came to me, even when I wasn’t that good. They’ve been along the ride from the beginning even when the dream wasn’t completely put together yet.”
Rhim is a brother of the Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) fraternity. “Their motto was ‘be men,’ and that meant to me is you come as you are,” he said. “To me, that’s such a vital standard, to be your own individual while being around people that value you for your traits. And that’s what my fraternity has provided for me.”
Christopher McNeil, a senior diplomacy and economics major, is a member of AXP and discussed his experience with Rhim. “While Josh and I were new members of Alpha Chi Rho, he always emphasized on giving back to the community,” McNeil said. “His way of making people smile is through the art of haircuts, and I couldn’t emphasize more on how welcoming and highly-qualified Josh is for being a barber.”
Rhim said he hopes to contribute to his fraternity’s philanthropy, shedding light on men’s diseases such as prostate cancer. He added that he hopes to be able to donate to those causes by cutting people’s hairs to generate funds.
He worked with the Inner Fraternal Council, which combines all the fraternities on campus, at its annual Relay for Life Event, a nationwide campaign for cancer research sponsored by SHU. He said he was able to have his own table designated for hair, beards or eyebrows and donated the raised money to the foundation.
Rhim said he advises young people to be unafraid to discover their passions. “I really think that my philosophy is that whatever you’re really passionate about is what you become really good at,” Rhim said. “It comes to you naturally, where you can really use your platform to benefit others. I believe in natural gifts.”
Werdeh Hassan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.