Darien High School’s Alumna Priscilla Lee Makes a Difference at University of Massachusetts at Amherst:
Pura Vida Bracelet Sensation
College campuses, actors, and actresses are quickly catching the wave and joining in the Pura Vida movement. Pura Vida donates a portion of its proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up beaches and oceans around the world. By purchasing one of Pura Vida’s vibrantly colored bracelets, one can support the effort to improve the world’s environment. Darien High School’s own Priscilla Lee, now a sophomore at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, serves as a campus representative for Pura Vida. She raises awareness of Pura Vida’s mission and encourages others to help.
According to Lee, Pura Vida began when two friends, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, were visiting a small community in Costa Rica after graduating from San Diego State University. They noticed a man named Jorge peddling bracelets on the street. The colorful bracelets were handmade in a simple way and seemed to capture the essence of their journey. The pair asked Jorge if he would be willing to make them 400 bracelets to take back to the United States with them.
When they first met Jorge, he was living in a single room with three beds shared by several members of his family. Soon after returning to the United States, they were able to give him enough business to live comfortably in a house and to pay his amigos to work with him. Jorge went from selling two to five bracelets each week to selling upwards of 5,000 bracelets each week. Thall and Goodman are now selling the bracelets in more than 100 surf shops and boutiques nationwide, including a few celebrity hot-spots. These bracelets are causing a sensation in the United States and have enabled these two college-aged entrepreneurs to expand Pura Vida into a full-fledged business.
Pura Vida bracelets are unique in their vibrant colors and significant message. Each one has a unique and different color combination so it would be rare to come across someone with your exact bracelet. The term “Pura Vida” means pure life in Spanish. In this way, the bracelets encourage one to celebrate good fortune and not to take anything for granted. The dedication and time that went into producing these bracelets also represent the respect that one must have for the beautiful environment.
“They really aren't just bracelets, they remind us to enjoy life slowly, promote what we live for, and celebrate good fortune,” explains Lee.
More specifically, Pura Vida donates a portion of their profits to the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to cleaning up, protecting and allowing people to enjoy the world's oceans, waves and beaches, through conservation, activism, research and education.
According to Thall and Goodman, “The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving beaches and oceans worldwide. They have over 50,000 members and completed over 140,000 hours of volunteer work. We are seeking to improve those numbers and truly change how people treat the oceans and beaches that surround us.”
Pura Vida bracelets further partake in One Percent for the Planet. This is a growing global movement of 1416 companies that donate 1% of their sales to support a network of 2,447 environmental organizations worldwide.
“With every Pura Vida Bracelet sold, we donate 1% back to the Surfrider Foundation through One Percent for the Planet,” explain Thall and Goodman.
When asked how she first became involved in Pura Vida, Lee responded, “These days, social media, as in Facebook, and Twitter are really becoming second nature to most of us. And so, with that said, I came across Pura Vida Bracelets on Facebook this past December. I went onto the actual Pura Vida Bracelets website and immediately fell in love with everything about Pura Vida Bracelets, the story, the meaning behind the bracelets, and of course the bracelets themselves! I saw that there were "Campus Reps" and wanted to bring it here to UMass Amherst.”
“They really aren't just bracelets, wearing them on my wrist reminds me to enjoy life, and be happy, as the whole "Pura Vida" lifestyle encourages. Also it is fun because I am always meeting more and more Campus Reps across the nation, from Florida to Indiana, and everywhere, communicating on a weekly basis. At the end of the day, we are all a team, and hope to inspire those around us to live the Pura Vida lifestyle,” explains Lee.
From AMERICAN IDOL to Pura Vida Bracelets, Paula Abdul is a huge fan... and so is her dog Tinkerbell!