Periwinkle Foundation

Volunteer Spotlight – The Terrace

As you enjoy your coffee and donuts this morning, we want to wrap up Volunteer Appreciation week with a couple fine groups of folks from The Terrace at West University and Clear Lake. Each and every Saturday morning they go to their neighborhood grocery store to pick up donuts and coffee which they take back to The Terrace and sell for 25 cents to residents – all proceeds benefitting The Periwinkle Foundation. Now, this may seem like a nominal amount of money to some, which is why we chose to share this story! Over the last 6 years alone, they have raised over $20,000 – one quarter at a time!


AND! Their work doesn’t stop there! Residents from The Terrace at West University have spent countless hours volunteering in our offices – from assembling thank you gifts for our Gala attendees and helping us get ready for Camp to attending Camp Periwinkle Visitor’s Day – These folks are the heart and soul of Periwinkle! THANK YOU Terrace!

Volunteer Spotlight – Club Periwinkle

Today, we would like to thank a special group of High School students who have taken initiative to do great things for Periwinkle! Hannah Fritsch started Club Periwinkle at Clear Lake High School in September of 2012.  She invited any student at the school to join and today, Club Periwinkle has over 50 members!


Club Periwinkle is a group of individuals who are interested in supporting The Periwinkle Foundation through volunteer efforts and fundraising.  The club has volunteered at events like the Making A Mark Opening Exhibit Reception, the Sickle Cell Education Day at Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Centers, Celebration if Life, Periwinkle Downs Triple Crown Gala and more!  Last summer they came out to Camp Periwinkle and taught the campers some country western moves to get them ready for the big dance! The club recently teamed up with BJ’s restaurant to raised over $200 for Periwinkle! They have even sold baked goods to all their friends at school to raise money and spread awareness of The Periwinkle Foundation! We love seeing High School students giving back. Help us say thank you to Hannah and Club Periwinkle for all the wonderful things they are doing for Periwinkle and their community!

Volunteer Spotlight – National Charity League

Today we recognize an incredible group of women – Moms and daughters in fact! For more than 50 years, National Charity League has thrived as one of the nation’s most distinctive and well-respected mother-daughter membership organizations. Today, NCL has over 180 Chapters with more than 50,000 actively engaged members – women and daughters in grades 7 through 12 – in 22 states.

Picture1The Periwinkle Foundation is the proud partner of not one, but TWO local chapters of NCL – West Houston, Helping Hands and Bayou City. Throughout the course of over 6 years, NCL has participated in nearly every Periwinkle event. They have worked at  the Making A Mark Opening Exhibit Reception, Cycle For Life and Celebration of Life. They have spent countless hours in our office helping with mailings. At each Periwinkle Family Camp, since its beginning in 2009, NCL has put together welcome baskets full of snacks, fun games and pretty much anything a family could need for a long weekend at camp. They have adopted the entire Camp Periwinkle for one dance every summer through Adopt A Cabin, providing fantastic costumes for all our campers. NCL truly defines what it means to be a service organization. Each time we have called for them, they have surpassed our every expectation. They work hard and love doing it!

Please help us thank the many, many Moms and Daughters from West Houston and Bayou City NCL, current and from years past, for their incredible service to The Periwinkle Foundation and the entire Houston Community!Picture2

Volunteer Spotlight – Jessica Dias

Jessica DiasToday our Volunteer Spotlight moves to recognize a very special member of our Periwinkle family, Jessica Dias. Jessica is part of our Long Term Survivor group and is one of our MOST dedicated volunteers. She has worked countless hours, doing everything from filing and t-shirt rolling to reading and hand addressing Postcards from the Road to mail to our Making A Mark artists! Jessica comes to our office sometimes several days a week always wearing a smile, ready to do whatever duty calls! Her quiet giggles light up our office and she makes every day brighter. She even brings us groceries – saving the day right before gala when we ran out of coffee creamer and discovered she had put fresh milk in the fridge! We could never thank Jessica enough for her great smile, incredible talents, beautiful heart and truly endless dedication to giving back. She is the definition of Periwinkle spirit and personifies our mission! Help us say THANK YOU and recognize Jessica for all her hard work!

Volunteer Spotlight – Kathy McCarthy

We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our week of appreciation than by recognizing 2014 Gerson Award Recipient, Kathy McCarthy! If you attended our Periwinkle Downs, Triple Crown Gala Saturday night you learned first-hand about the impact Kathy has made on thousands of Periwinkle children and families over the last 20 years. Here is Kathy’s story:


When Kathy McCarthy became a pediatric nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital’s oncology unit in 1981, she unknowingly opened a door to The Periwinkle Foundation that’s never been shut. On top of her work providing medical care to children suffering from cancer, she became an invaluable link between patients and families and Periwinkle.

For 20 years, Kathy has helped bring back the sense of childhood innocence to children who are all too familiar with the hospital setting. Her involvement with Periwinkle has ranged from identifying patients who would most benefit from Periwinkle camps, helping families through the application process, coordinating and preparing medical supplies, creative medical roadmaps to keep each child healthy at camp, to serving on the camp medical staff or Camp Director. To say that Kathy has been “all hands on-deck” with Periwinkle practically since its inception would be an understatement. Today, she’s lovingly referred to as the camp lady by patients and families at Texas Children’s Hospital and thought of as the one who makes camp possible, by both hospital and Periwinkle staff.

Kathy’s entire family has become Periwinkle advocates. Her husband Dave has wholly supported her involvement and always encouraged her to attend camp, even with young children of their own at home. When Kathy began attending Camp Periwinkle, their two children Russell and Anthony were just 6 and 9. Today, they’ve begun their own Periwinkle journeys as Cycle for Life participants and as a YOLO camp counselor.

Thank you, Kathy, for your generous spirit, unwavering dedication and endless support of The Periwinkle Foundation and the many, many children and families you have served!

To watch Kathy’s Gerson Award Recipient Video, Click Here

ExxonMobil Summer Jobs Program

We are thrilled to be a recipient of the ExxonMobil Summer Jobs Program grant for a paid summer 2014 internship! IMG_0055

We are now accepting applications for this exciting internship June 16 – August 9, 2014.

The Periwinkle Foundation-Volunteer Coordination, Summer programs Coordinator, The Periwinkle Foundation’s Summer Programs Coordinator will recruit, schedule, train and recognize over 150 volunteers and donors for Camp Periwinkle’s Special Summer Programs. The intern will work with the Program Director and Community and Program Coordinator to develop a formal “Day Volunteer” information packet and manual which will be utilized in the training process of volunteers for the special programs that take place at camp. He or she will also collaborate with the Development Director and Coordinator to organize and implement Visitors Day. The intern will be asked to attend three of these programs, two of which will take place at Camp For All.

To view the full job description and eligibility checklist, Click Here. Resumes, cover letters and completed eligibility forms can be submitted to Erin Overhouse at

For more information, please contact Erin Overhouse at

All candidates MUST be current full-time, undergraduate students at a major college or university who will be returning Fall 2014 as a full-time undergraduate student.

Cycle for Life “Suvivor” leaves no child behind on the island!


It seemed a normal quiet morning at 7am. The bikes were set and the gym was open and ready for Cycle for Life 2014.  And then, one by one they came: the Village People, the Hammerhead Sharks, the Greeks, the Mermaids, the Baseball Sluggers, the Original Cast of Gilligan’s Island and many more to sweat it out for a cause.  The mission was to leave no child “stranded on the island.”  Teams pedaled to send as many children affected by cancer off their island to reach the wonderful land of Camp Periwinkle.


By 9am, there was not an empty seat in the house and every single bike had a rider pedaling to give back a little sweat equity for the donations they raised.  Thanks to the awesome food donors of Einstein Bros. Bagels, Torchy’s Tacos, and specialty coffee from Java Pura, the bikers were fueled up and caffeinated;  ready to ride for life.  Kids enjoyed arts and crafts, face-painting, a photo booth, and a clown making balloons. The energy and excitement in the room was contagious and made for an incredible day.



These teams of riders accomplished a huge feat, raising nearly $85,000 for Periwinkle’s life-changing programs!  The event was an absolute blast, a huge success for the Foundation and an amazing community connection bringing people together for a great cause.  Save me a bike seat for next year, I am ready to sweat it out again and again.



Yours in sweat,

Marti Carr
Cycle for Life Co-Chair 2014




Holiday Office Hours 2013

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We wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  If you are thinking about coming to The Periwinkle Foundation office during the holidays here is our holiday schedule:


Office Closed:

Thanksgiving:  November 27-29

Christmas:  December 24-25

New Years:  December 31 & January 1, 2014


Feel free to call us if you are coming to the office. With such a small staff we could be at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, an offsite meeting or at storage, and we would hate to miss your visit!  You can call us at 713-807-0191.


Happy Holidays,

Doug, Larry, Aaron, Erin, Katherine & Alice

“The day was full of laughing, fun, and Camp YOLO good times”


When I applied to be a counselor at Camp YOLO, I only partially knew what I was getting myself into. I had some information, but you never really know what’s going to happen until it does. 

I showed up at camp to meet my fellow counselors and leaders of Camp YOLO and quickly figured out that these might be a group of the happiest, most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. While waiting for the campers to arrive, I listened in on conversations about how many times other counselors have been at camp and what they were looking forward to this weekend. This was giving me more of an idea what to expect when the campers would pull up in a few minutes.

The excitement of the campers pulling up was something I’ve never experienced before. My explanation won’t do it justice, but the arrival gave me goosebumps. Everyone was smiling. Campers and counselors were both jumping up and down with excitement. I stood in awe the happy spirits that surrounded me. We spent Friday evening getting to know each other, playing kickball, and eating s’mores. I laid in bed Friday night with the restlessness most kids feel before the first day of school. I didn’t sleep well because I was too anxious about Saturday’s activities.

We spent a good part of Saturday doing activities: horseback riding/visiting a barn yard, arts & crafts, cooking, ropes course, and kayaking/canoeing. The spirit within these girls was incredible. I was a bit scared of 14 year old girls before meeting them, because I had never worked with this age of girls before, but they made everything fun. The day was full of laughing, fun, and Camp YOLO good times. If I hadn’t known better, I wouldn’t have thought any of these girls had ever been affected by any type of illness. They were truly taking advantage of the weekend to be a kid again. While we were participating in activities throughout the day, I found myself time and again reveling at their carefree attitudes, everything I would expect from 14 year olds.

Saturday was the evening I had been warned about, in a good way. I’d been warned that crying may take place. I’ve never been much of a crier, but I had no chance against all the stories of hope the campers shared. The things I found most amazing is that most of the campers didn’t share a wish for them to “get better”, it was always about helping others and wishing other kids could experience Camp YOLO. It was one of the most inspirational moments of my life. It’s something that I won’t ever forget…ever!

My goal for Camp YOLO was to be sure that the campers had the best time possible. I didn’t know I would learn so much about perseverance, hope, courage, and selflessness too. I may have more years of life experience on these campers, but they have more of an understanding of the importance of the life you’re given and how to take advantage of each and every moment of it. I’m grateful for every moment I spent with the campers, as it is something I will never forget. I look forward to being involved in the lives of these amazing kids again, even if it’s just for a weekend. I’m pretty sure this weekend means more to the campers than most other weekends in their lives, I know it does for me!

Katie Leining

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