Apurva Parikh and David Lin: The Dynamic Duo and Co-Founders of Showered With Hope

NYU is filled with unimaginably intelligent, motivated, and creative students, but just how many are using their skills and talents to make an immediate difference in the community? Senior Apurva Parikh and Junior David Lin teamed up to create a solution for the lack of hygiene experienced by those who are homeless in Manhattan.     

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  • Name: Apurva Parikh
  • Hometown: Westchester, NY
  • School/Year: CAS ‘16
  • Major: Biology
  • Name: David Lin
  • Hometown: Stony Brook, NY
  • School/Year: CAS ‘17
  • Major: Psychology

HC NYU: How did you guys come up with the idea behind your organization, Showered With Hope?

 

AP: It started the summer of 2014. David came up with the idea for it after he saw something about a successful mobile hygiene service based in California called Lava Mae on Facebook. I remember he approached me with this idea saying that we ourselves should try to do something similar in New York, because the issue of homelessness is not only explosive, but also poignant. I agreed and thought it was an incredible idea.

HC NYU: What roles do you guys play in the organization, and what kinds of responsibilities do your positions entail?

DL: Essentially, Apurva and I both serve as the executives, overseeing the entire Showered With Hope operation together. We combine all the resources that we receive from the different departments that we have, whether that be PR or fundraising, and make our decisions based on these pieces of information. We also write grants for Showered With Hope and actively communicate and collaborate with other organizations in the area to enhance our learning experience.

HC NYU: How has Showered With Hope changed or developed since it first started out?

AP: It’s changed a lot. Communication amongst the team members was initially a difficult challenge. It was rather tricky working with a team of seven or eight to begin with, but now we’ve condensed to a group of four and it’s expedited progress greatly. We’ve been able to successfully write grants and even organize and host a 5k run. We also now have a fiscal sponsor, which is sort of the equivalent of a tax exemption status for our organization that allows us to basically apply for any grants that we want, or for any organizations and individuals to make their donations to us.

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HC NYU: What would you say are currently the main goals of Showered With Hope?

AP: Currently, I would say that publicity is a big objective. This is because one, not enough people know about the issue that we want to address, which is homelessness, and two, not enough people know about the organization because we lack in the PR department. Right now, we’ve really been focusing on more of the logistical aspects of our actual goal, which is to create a mobile hygiene service. So I definitely think that’s one area we could really improve on. Currently, we are collaborating with another organization in Brooklyn in hopes of transforming this mobile hygiene service into a real matter. Hopefully we can do so within the next year. Not to mention, we even have an actual bus that has been donated to us, which is promising.

HC NYU: What kind of events or activities have you guys held so far?

AP: As I said earlier, we had a 5k run this past summer in August. We also hosted a hygiene kit project where people or different organizations donated hygiene supplies to us, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, soap, and we packaged them into small kits to distribute to homeless people on the streets. Another event we had was a photo advocacy project, which was like the equivalent of HONY (Humans of New York), but more so focused only on people who live on the streets. We captured powerful images and stories and posted it on Facebook. We have another event coming up soon, in late March where we’re partnering up with another great organization called Knock Knock Give A Sock.

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HC NYU: Do you guys have any specific plans or goals for the future for Showered With Hope?

AP: Our primary goal right now is to create a mobile hygiene service, which is essentially a bus that contains showers, toilets, sinks, and private changing areas, because frankly it’s something that we really do have the potential to achieve. Admittedly, it seemed a bit lofty when we first started, but now that we actually have taken off, it seems much more achievable.

HC NYU: What do you think is the most important lesson that you’ve learned since having founded Showered With Hope?

DL: For me at least, it’s about communication and effectively communicating with team members. I believe that the most important thing is teamwork. With successful teamwork, you can get a lot of things done much more quickly and effectively.

AP: Yeah, I totally agree. Communication and cohesive teamwork would also be one of the biggest things that I’ve learned, especially because it was originally one of our shortcomings.

HC NYU: What would you say is the biggest accomplishment that Showered With Hope has achieved so far, as an organization?

AP: A lot of different companies and people have approached us to interview us, to donate things to us, to learn about our service and apply it elsewhere in the country, which is very neat. The fact that we were able to partner with an organization and get a bus donated to us, is definitely a huge step in the right direction. That’s probably our most significant physical accomplishment.

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HC NYU: What do you think is the easiest way for other NYU students to get involved with community service and help give back to others?

DL: If you see a significant issue on the Internet or on Facebook, you should simply step up and do something about it. Approach friends, talk to them, see if it’s a feasible idea, and if they also like it, it may turn into something. NYU has lots of opportunities and resources through which students can learn about different non-profit organizations, and New York City has even more. I think it’s important to take action, especially if it means something to you, instead of just being passive.

HC NYU: Do you guys have any specific advice for students who might be interested in starting nonprofit and/or community service clubs or organizations?

AP: If you want to start your own non-profit, definitely do it with a smaller group of people. I would keep it under five, and I would also immediately look into applying for tax exemption, because one of the biggest roadblocks we’ve had in the past is not being able to apply for any significant grants because we had to be tax-exempt. Applying for that status is one of the biggest things that would have sped things up. Also, definitely assess the need to see if whatever you’re trying to do meets a real need that exists, because we’ve also had to tailor our mission to the way the actual need itself changes.

Quick, Fun Facts:

  • Favorite Movie - AP: Django Unchained, DL: Dirty Grandpa
  • Favorite TV Show - AP: Parks & Rec, DL: New Girl
  • Favorite Food - AP: Sushi, DL: Sushi
  • Favorite Song - AP: What Do U Mean by Justin Bieber, DL: How Deep Is Your Love by Calvin Harris

Check out Showered With Hope online, here!

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mITX7zaxw5Y

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/showeredwithhope/