The Burns Family Paying it Forward

In 2013, the Pura Vida Foundation opened their doors to two volunteers from St. Jerome’s University who had previously visited the Pura Vida shelter on a service learning experience. Jess Burns and Bess Mitchell worked together to help a young boy named Ricardo, who was born without part of one leg, find a new prosthetic leg. Before they travelled to Peru, Jess and Bess fundraised with the St. Jerome’s residence community and were able to raise enough funds to find a leg for Ricardo. After working with Ricardo, Jess continued her journey volunteering with Pura Vida for an additional two months where she worked closely with the young girls from the shelter. She was so moved by her experiences at the shelter and all that she learned from the girls, that she knew she wanted to stay involved. After arriving back to Canada, Jess and her family decided they wanted to fundraise.

Since 2013 the Burns family, alongside Mike Burns’ business, have raised almost $10,000 for the Pura Vida Foundation. To date, Jess’ family and Colonial Tree Service have organized two major fundraising events, spread awareness about the Pura Vida shelter and donated money at Christmas time – all in efforts to give these amazing girls a second chance at life. We consider the Burns’ and Colonial Tree to be a part of our Pura Vida family. Their dedication and aspirations for positive change has made a tremendous impact and strengthened the deep friendship that they established with the girls at the shelter. We are excited that Colonial Tree and the Burns’ have expressed their continued support as we continue to work on various projects at Pura Vida.

To learn more about Colonial Tree Service, a southern Ontario-based full service tree care business that is working to help our family run non-profit, please visit or their Facebook page

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