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Caring for Children, One at a Time

our history

For too many children, the delicate years of childhood are plagued by abandonment, hunger, homelessness and exploitation.

Pura Vida for Children is a non profit organization that seeks to raise awareness and inspiration to help children who live in desperate need. At this time Pura Vida supports those working on the frontlines with children in Costa Rica, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Haiti and local shelters around Connecticut.


Caring for Homeless Children…. One at a Time

Pura Vida is a grassroots organization mobilizing resources to help children throughout the world, beginning in Costa Rica and Connecticut. To help make this happen, we involve teens and families from the U.S, who take part in fundraising projects as well as service trips. The goal of these service trips is to have a personal connection with the organizations that are serving the children that we support.

Pura Vida is a non-profit organization founded by Sharon Knechtle in 2005. While on a mother-son vacation in Costa Rica, they became aware of the growing problem of homeless and exploited children and felt compelled to take action. The first step was to bring a group of high school students to Costa Rica to do service projects in Nosara. They developed relationships with local children and adults while doing construction, playing games, doing arts and crafts and reading. The friendships developed during those trips became the launching pad for Pura Vida's vision to care for children in need and to provide opportunities for high school students to serve.

Shortly after the first trip, Pura Vida formed a board and acquired a nonprofit status. Initially, Pura Vida considered purchasing land in Nosara to build an orphanage. However, due to the escalation of land prices this became impractical. After researching the needs and exploring other ministries that are helping children at home and abroad, it became clear that we could impact far more children by supporting existing caregivers.

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