Parish Outreach

What is Parish Outreach?

As a parish community, in the spirit of service, we choose a project beyond our immediate community to focus the gift of our abundant resources in order to help those in need.  Our parish Social Justice Committee oversees this project and are available for questions or any assistance you can offer by joining the team.  Please contact:  Mark Straub  or call  416.708.9288.

PURA VIDA:   St. Agnes and our mission to help!

Our parish has chosen the Pura Vida Foundation as our project — that we might be of greater service with our gifts and blessings, sharing much needed funds to assist.  Please familiarize yourself with this initiative, and consider how you might contribute — any amount you are able to give is welcomed with gratitude.  Envelopes can be marked “Pura Vida” and placed in the regular collection or dropped into the office.  Please make cheques payable to St. Agnes Parish and on the memo line, put “for Pura Vida Foundation”.  Thankyou!


While on assignment in Latin America, young photographer Nathan Beninger witnessed and photographed the striking disparities many people experience every day.

Nathan moved to Peru to work in several orphanages and shelters supporting abandoned and abused young children.

In the beginning, the Pura Vida Foundation was created to set up programs and workshops for the children living in the shelters and orphanages Nathan was working in.

The types of workshops varied, and one Nathan was particularly passionate about were photography workshops.

In 2009, the Foundation decided to open their own shelter for young girls who had experienced exploitation and abuse.

At present, the Pura Vida Foundation is working to provide marginalized and exploited young girls in Peru with basic necessities such as:

•A dependable food supply

•Safe Housing

•Emotional, spiritual and mental counselling and support

•Necessary resources for enhancing quality of life


The hope is that by providing the young girls with these things, their lives and resiliency are strengthened.

A large part of the Pura Vida Foundation’s approach to providing shelter and rehabilitation to these young girls, is providing them with access to education. Young girls are found spots in local, good schools and are supported through college and university degrees.

Their hope is to break the cycle of poverty for these girls through education and rehabilitation.

In May of 2013, The Pura Vida Foundation was able to purchase 3,660 square meters of land in CaiCay, a rural community 2 hours outside of Cusco, Peru.

It is on this land that the future Pura Vida Shelter will be built.

The shelter facilities will include: dormitories, washrooms, computer workshops, a library, classroom, study rooms, administrative offices, bakery workshop, kitchen, dining hall, volunteer accommodations and outdoor courts for sports and games.

The new shelter will be able to house and support up to 50 young girls from 12 different communities in the surrounding area.

Each girl will have access to education, many different workshops and programs to help them navigate their experiences, build resiliency, and move forward towards their goals.

The young girls who stay at the shelter will live, dormitory style, with other young girls. They will be required to attend school, complete chores around the shelter and stay on top of their studies. They will receive three square meals a day and have facilities to maintain their personal hygiene. Furthermore, they will have access to health practitioners, dentistry, a counsellor and educational opportunities to learn about proper hygiene, self-care, family planning and body-image.

The shelter will also provide workshops in pottery, photography, cinematography, sewing, music and art as alternative therapeutic experiences that also help build skills and trade capacity for when the girls leave the facility.

The shelter will be overseen by The Pura Vida Foundation, and run day-to-day by a staff of local community members. This not only provides more job opportunities for the surrounding communities, but also helps to provide the girls with local, sustainable and consistent support rooted in a native understanding of culture and experience.

The Pura Vida Shelter will host volunteers to help with support and programming, while also providing an educative experience of solidarity for the volunteers to begin to understand the complexity of the issues the Pura Vida Foundation is actively addressing.

In order to transition the new shelter from ”the future” to ”the now”, the Pura Vida Foundation needs help.

While the Foundation has the capital to build the shelter, it can not be built until the yearly operating costs can be sustained. The Foundation does not want to open the shelter until it can be a sustainable support for the young girls and their communities.

In order to make this a reality, the Pura Vida Foundation requires around $74,000 annually to cover operating costs for 20 girls and 4 staff members. This will cover the cost of:



•Health and Dental Costs

•Employee Salary and Health Insurance

•General Maintenance



•Telephone and Internet

Thank you for reading and familiarizing yourself with this service project – every dollar counts and together we can make a profound difference in the lives of these girls.

For further information, questions etc., please feel free to contact Mark Straub, head of our Social Justice Committee:   tel #  416.708.9288  or email  You may speak to Fr. Aleks at any time about our project as well.

Pura Vida Website:

Thank you!

Your Social Justice Committee