Periwinkle Foundation

Make It A Splendid Week – “Declaration of Independence”



Fireworks at Camp Periwinkle!

Declaration of Independence

By the delegates of the Fruia Family

In the Fruia Home

In Sugar Land, TX

On the first day of February 2007


I would like to claim independence from the hated disease Cancer.

I believe that every kid has the right to feel healthy without the worry of a terrible disease.

A kid needs to be able to look normal and keep their hair on their head and not puff up like a blowfish.

I also declare that a kid should not have to endure scary and sometimes painful procedures that come with the treatment of Cancer.

By Raymie, 2007


“Make It A Splendid Week” is a weekly post featuring a poem from one of our talented young authors in The Splendid Review.  Learn more about The Splendid Review and The Periwinkle Foundation’s Arts & Creative Writing Program or like The Splendid Review on Facebook

To request a printed copy of The Splendid Review email Erin Overhouse at

Make It A Splendid Week – “My Dad”


My Dad

My greatest inspiration is my dad. He has inspired me to always work hard and try to achieve my best. He sets a good example by doing this himself. When I slack off, he motivates me to get going again. He tells me stories

my dad

A dad and son posing at Family Camp!

about when he was young and how he has worked hard to get rid of bad habits like procrastination. He has made me want to be a doctor like him. He is a pediatrician, and that is the field I want to go into too. My dad has taught me the importance of getting a good education. My dad is very religious and he inspires me to be a better Muslim. For instance, even though my dad is busy, he takes time to say his prayers and go to the mosque when he can. His belief in God is very strong. This has made me trust God more and be open with others about what I believe.

by Samiah, age 13, 2009


“Make It A Splendid Week” is a weekly post featuring a poem from one of our talented young authors in The Splendid Review.  Learn more about The Splendid Review and The Periwinkle Foundation’s Arts & Creative Writing Program or like The Splendid Review on Facebook

To request a printed copy of The Splendid Review email Erin Overhouse at

Camp Periwinkle Days Presented by BG Group


Kids spent the day at the beach this year at the 5th Annual Camp Periwinkle Days presented by BG Group. The Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers transformed into summer camp, packed with games, prizes and activities to positively change and enrich the lives of children challenged by cancer and blood disorders who are being cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.

In the last five years, 190 BG Group employees have contributed more than 900 volunteer hours impacting at least 2000 children and their families. BG Group employees were able to interact and play with the children ensuring a memorable day for both campers and volunteers.

Click here for more pictures.

BakerTriangle Charity Golf Classic

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The BakerTriangle Inaugural Charity Golf Classic at Willow Creek Golf Club raised more than $30,000 for The Periwinkle Foundation. Despite a little rain, the event was a huge success. This inaugural charity golf classic in Houston was hosted by BakerTriangle, the leading drywall and plaster specialty contractor in the Southwest.

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In addition to a day of golfing, participants and sponsors were also able to hear one of our campers, Presley talk about her experiences with The Periwinkle Foundation. Her incredible speech clearly communicated the impact of the mission of The Periwinkle Foundation and was a treat to all who attended.

Original artwork by Mia, a Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program participant, was incorporated into the tournament signage, registration forms and even the awards. The original was presented to BakerTriangle for their incredible support.

Thank you BakerTriangle, Presley and all the golfers who participated!

Click here for more pictures.

Make It A Splendid Week – “Ode to My Mom”

Family Camp

A dad and son kissing mom on the cheek at Family Camp!


Ode to My Mom

 You are funny:

You wake me up laughing by tickling my toes

You make fun of my sisters for me

When you play with me you are always making jokes

You are nice:

You comfort me when I’m scared

By making fun of me

You help me with my homework when

I don’t understand it

You are loving:

You work really hard to provide food

And our light green house with the big tree in front.

by Raquel, age 11, 2010


“Make It A Splendid Week” is a weekly post featuring a poem from one of our talented young authors in The Splendid Review.  Learn more about The Splendid Review and The Periwinkle Foundation’s Arts & Creative Writing Program or like The Splendid Review on Facebook

To request a printed copy of The Splendid Review email Erin Overhouse at

Creating for Care

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Students at Deerwood Elementary School in Kingwood raised money for The Periwinkle Foundation by presenting its second annual Creating for Care fundraiser on April 24th, an original play called Some Pig, based on E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In addition to the performance, handmade art and concessions were available for purchase before the show.

Proceeds from the evening came to $3,456, exceeding last year’s amount of $3,000.

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Volunteer Appreciation, Friday Spotlight – Behind the Scenes with Mara Buchholz, Diana Hecht and ExxonMobil

As we begin to wrap up Volunteer Appreciation Week, we think it is important to recognize some folks who work behind the scenes at The Periwinkle Foundation! With a full time staff of 6, many people often say “How do you do so much great work?” The answer is easy, we have INCREDIBLE volunteers! Working behind the scenes at Periwinkle isn’t always glamorous, and often involves spreadsheets and craft preparation, but we try to keep it fun – which is easy with a couple fabulous ladies named Mara Buchholz and Diana Hecht!

Mara BuchholzMara Buchholz began volunteering in The Periwinkle Foundation office in 2013 and dove right in! She has helped us tame our databases, create new spreadsheets, complete foundation research and even design our Annual Report! Working weekly in the office, Mara really became a huge part of our team. After recently accepting a job at Amazing Place, another great non-profit, Mara has agreed to continue to help us with special projects! We miss her weekly visits, but we are so proud of the great work she continues to do and even more proud to call her a part of the Periwinkle family. Help us say THANK YOU to Mara for helping us change lives!

I was so honored to work at Periwinkle. The creativity and energy the staff brings to their work everyday made it so much fun to work there. It was clear that they not only love their work but also whole-heartedly believe in the organization’s mission.”– Mara Buchholz, Periwinkle Volunteer


diana hecht 2Diana Hecht began volunteering at The Periwinkle Foundation office in 2014 and we knew she was a great fit right away. Diana comes in each week, and is up for any task. She is our “go to” for craft preparation, organization and even entering items into our auction database for special events! Diana comes each week with a smile and we really feel like she is a part of our team. She handles anything we give her and always completes each job with enthusiasm. We look forward to Wednesdays with Diana every week! Help us say THANK YOU for all her hard work and dedication to The Periwinkle Foundation

“I was looking for something meaningful to fill some extra time I had since my full time “mommy” job was done.  I researched various non-profit organizations and immediately knew Periwinkle was the right fit.  Not until I started volunteering there did I realize what a great fit it would be.  I love everything Periwinkle stands for.  I love kids, I love art, I loved summer camp as a child and I absolutely love and admire all that Periwinkle does for these children and their families.  What an amazing organization and what an incredible and devoted staff of employees and volunteers. I volunteer in the office once a week and every week they make me feel so welcome. Sort of like family. I’ve only been volunteering for a little over a year now but I predict that I will be there for as long as they’ll have me.  It truly is something I believe in now and totally support.  What a difference Periwinkle has made in so many peoples lives and now mine!” – Diana Hecht, Periwinkle Volunteer



exxonFinally, on this Friday we would like to recognize a corporation, who through many employee driven committees serves their communities and The Periwinkle Foundation! ExxonMobil has been volunteering with The Periwinkle Foundation for over 5 years through their ONE EMIT (formally NEON) Service Committee as Camp YOLO bus loading volunteers. Twice a year, approximately 10 ExxonMobil volunteers brave rush hour traffic in The Medical Center to help us check in, chaperone and load up over 100 teenagers for Camp YOLO. They sort boxed lunches, take roll call and even schlep luggage – IN THE RAIN! We truly could not make this happen without their support behind the scenes! In addition, in 2014 the ExxonMobil Women’s Network group began volunteering at Camp Periwinkle for Carnival Crew! They helped us set up the event and then facilitated all of the fun activities which kick off a life changing week for over 180 children with cancer and their siblings. They even donated our carnival prizes! Help us say thank you to the countless employees at ExxonMobil for making an impact in hundreds of lives!

Why do we love volunteers? Let our Staff tell you!

Doug Suggitt

Volunteers are the heart and soul of The Periwinkle Foundation.  They give countless hours to make a positive impact in the lives of children, teens and families living with cancer.  We are truly a more dynamic and impactful organization because of their level of support and commitment.  Thank you for “changing lives for life.”  – Doug Suggitt, Executive Director



Volunteer Appreciation Week, Thursday Spotlight – Susan Leining and Alpha Charity League

susan leiningToday we turn our spotlight to feature a lovely lady who helps us capture the magic of Periwinkle year round! Susan Leining began volunteering with The Periwinkle Foundation nearly 10 years ago as a counselor at Camp YOLO, and today participates in just about everything we do! Susan is now a member of the Tech Crew at Camp YOLO, documenting every happy moment on film, she is a member of the Making A Mark Planning Committee, and volunteers at every fundraising event we have! Susan most recently created a photo booth which she graciously brings to Camp YOLO, Camp Periwinkle, Making A Mark, Periwinkle Kickball Classic, Celebration of Life and Cycle For Life!! Susan has tremendous passion for helping children and families and her personality exudes that passion in every way! Help us say THANK YOU! to Susan for her tremendous dedication to Periwinkle!

“I was inspired to volunteer with Periwinkle about 9 years ago when one of my students, Chelsey Campbell, attended Camp YOLO. After seeing the photos of her on the zip line (having to be pulled to the top of the tower in a sling), her dancing in her wheelchair at Saturday Night’s dance, and many other photos of her just being a 16 year old, despite her severe medical condition, I said to myself, “I want to be part of that, I want to be able to facilitate teens having fun and forgetting their limitations.”  After that it was history!  It only took one Camp YOLO for me to want to be part of it forever.  And once I learned more about The Periwinkle Foundation, I wanted to be more involved in making it possible for kids to attend camp (by helping raise funds and volunteering at various events) and also by getting involved with Making A Mark and seeing parents celebrate their children’s accomplishments.  Volunteering with Periwinkle reminds me to always have Hope and Joy in all I do– I am reminded by the incredible families I am blessed to come into contact with.”  – Susan Leining, Periwinkle Volunteer


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Alpha Charity League, Bellaire Chapter. ACL began partnering with The Periwinkle Foundation in 2014 and have quickly made their way into the Periwinkle spotlight. These boys (and moms!) are GREAT! From helping us prep for Iron Sommelier by stuffing voting corks and assembling lanyards, to working with children and families at Making A Mark and Celebration of Life, they are truly dedicated to their community. They bring such joy and enthusiasm everywhere they go, and they are so kind and welcoming to each and every child they work with. We think these guys could be future Periwinkle leaders! Help us as we applaud these young men and the wonderful Moms who support them. THANK YOU! Alpha Charity League!

Why do we love volunteers? Let our Staff tell you!larry geiger

“I love our volunteers because of their dedication to our mission. Our camp and art programs would not be where they are today without them. With the support of our volunteers, I feel there is no task too big for us to complete.”  – Larry Geiger, Program Director

Volunteer Appreciation Week, Wednesday Spotlight – Tony Polichino and Tulane Executive MBA Program

tony 1 TURN IT UP! Today we feature a volunteer who lives in the spotlight, Tony Polichino. Tony has been involved with Periwinkle for 12 years. Starting his journey as a volunteer in high school, Tony first fell in love with camp as a teenager. As he grew older, he began to seek more and more opportunities to give his time. He is FULL of energy and fun and is best known as our Periwinkle DJ. It is truly magical to watch our campers fill the dance floor and feel alive as they dance the night away. Tony not only DJ’s at Camp Periwinkle and Camp YOLO, he attends all of our events and even volunteers his time to DJ at our fundraising events like the Periwinkle Kickball Classic and Cycle For Life. Help us say THANK YOU! to DJ Splipstream, Tony Polichino. Read what Tony has to say about his journey volunteering:

“I was raised to be a “Man for Others”. By my education and my parents in particular. But it wasn’t until I discovered camp that I actually reached a point where I understood what it meant. This story has three moments that changed my life forever. Moment one was completely involuntary. I was literally “forced” to complete 100 hours of volunteer work for my high school in order to get that diploma. So when a camp for kids with special needs came up as an “easy” way to knock out the hours, I jumped at the chance. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this first moment would shape me as the man I am.

The first camp I volunteered with was MDA Camp. I spent a week paired with a young man with Muscular Dystrophy along with 6 other campers and counselors in a cabin at the Camp For All facilities. An amazing barrier-free place that hosts special needs camp year round. The feeling I got after the week was up as I was riding home with my parents was something I’ll never forget. I had impacted the life of a child. In one week, I had made new friends and connections that I still have to this day. How quickly I let go of the selfish thoughts of “losing my summertime” and replaced them with thoughts of “being a man for others.” I still hold onto it and revisit it annually when I drive home from camp even now. I spent 11 years with MDA Camp. I had the same group of campers who were just 10 year old boys when I met them, to becoming 21 year old men when they “graduated” as my close friends. They inspired me.

During my third year with MDA, Camp For All took notice of how much energy and fun I had while at camp the past few years. I was approached to come on full time with them during the summer for ALL of the camps that visit. Moment number two was my easy decision to say “Yes” and come aboard. Again, I had no clue was what up ahead for me. For 3 full summers and more, I would meet campers from all walks of life. Each one with an amazing courageous story and family, battling together against rougher odds than most can imagine. But it wasn’t until the final week of the summer, that last camp, that I would find my home.

Camp Periwinkle was the final week. The last hoorah of amazing summer after amazing summer. I had never seen anything like it. The people who volunteered with Camp Periwinkle were my heroes. Many of them surviving cancer themselves, they were the apex of giving their hearts to a cause. I was starstruck. Even once my time with Camp For All came to an end and I entered the “real” world with big boy jobs and responsibilities, I always made time for Camp Periwinkle. Every year I would save up my vacation time for this one week and come to camp. This summer will be my 12th time attending Camp Periwinkle. My fifth as a full volunteer. So why do it? Why volunteer year after year?

I come back year after year because no matter how small the impact, no matter how short the moment is, impacting the life of a child who is fighting for their life is more rewarding than anything I’ve experienced in my 30+ years. I have a great career, I have accomplished some pretty amazing goals in my own personal life from marathons to at home projects. But nothing has made me who I am today like volunteering has. I drive home from Camp Periwinkle every year now rushed with passion and drive to being a Man for Others. One day I will have children of my own, and I hope to be able to show them how much one moment spent volunteering can change your life for the better.”


tulane 2Today we also recognize an institution of education, and service! Tulane Executive MBA Program in Houston has partnered with Periwinkle for nearly 5 years. Each year, student groups work on a focus study of a particular aspect of The Periwinkle Foundation and provide recommendations of enhancement. From marketing, branding and logos, to reinvigorating Cycle For Life and enhancing Postcards from The Road and the Making A Mark Traveling Exhibit, these students share their business expertise to help Periwinkle do what we do best – Change Lives for Life!  We are so grateful for the commitment of Tulane University, Houston and their students for sharing their passion with Periwinkle. In addition to their studies, Tulane University, Houston Campus has been a proud sponsor of Friends of Periwinkle, Hops and Tamales at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Help us say THANK YOU! to Tulane!

 Why do we love volunteers? Let our Staff tell you!

Jessica Snell

“I really enjoy working with volunteers because it brings great diversity in our everyday work style. It’s always great to see new smiling faces who want to make a difference. Volunteers are what make large projects possible!

– Jessica Snell, Operations Coordinator

Volunteer Appreciation Week, Tuesday Spotlight – Michelle Fritsch and Sephora

michelleToday’s Volunteer Appreciation Spotlight turns to a long-time Periwinkle devotee, Michelle Fritsch. Michelle has volunteered with Periwinkle for over 20 years, and while most people know her as a camp counselor and “Girls Night Out” guru, many do not know the hard work Michelle puts in behind the scenes all year round! (Oh yeah, and she has 3 kids of her own!) Any Periwinkle camper can tell you about all of the wonderful stuff they encounter at Camp Periwinkle, but they may not know how it all makes its way into their arms. Michelle spends the year contacting businesses and individuals to donate all the necessities (and a little extra, too!) – from sunscreen and bug spray, to dodge balls and lip gloss, this lady has it covered! In addition to seeking out all the goods, Michelle helps coordinate volunteers for Carnival Crew, Glamour Shots, Girls Night Out and Spa Day. She develops many of the volunteer engagement opportunities for Camp Periwinkle, and serves on the Camp Periwinkle Planning Committee and Gala Committee. Did we mention Michelle is a Social Worker? She uses her skills to personally call each and every camper family to make sure all of their questions are answered, and that each child will board the bus ready to have the time of their life. The Periwinkle Foundation provides clothing and toiletries for about 30% of Camp Periwinkle campers each year, Michelle not only identifies these needs but she coordinates the collection and distribution of every item, ensuring that no child arrives unprepared. We really could go on, and on about all Michelle does for Periwinkle, but we think it is clear just how much she means to our organization. THANK YOU, Michelle, for truly changing lives, each and every day!

“I have been involved with The periwinkle Foundation for over 20 years.  People often ask why I continue to work with this organization.  There is no simple answer to that.  I could say that the kids and volunteers make my heart glow.  How the volunteers are all committed to making each program amazing and phenomenal.  But really volunteering with The Periwinkle Foundation makes me feel good.  It’s a powerful place and it changes a person’s way of thinking.  It reminds me of how special life is, how lucky I am, how important it is to work everyday to make the world a better place for everyone.  It’s a chance to see what life could be like in a world ruled by love, where nobody ever wanted for anything.”   – Michelle, Periwinkle Volunteer

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Today, we would also like to recognize a corporate volunteer group, Sephora, for their outstanding leadership and dedication to The Periwinkle Foundation. In 2014, Sephora (Corporate, Village Arcade and Galleria) began partnering with Periwinkle to provide volunteer assistance at Camp Periwinkle’s Spa Day and Glamour Shots. Professional hair and make up artists came out to camp to glam up our ladies! Sephora, Village Arcade also sponsored several events for our local teens and Long Term Survivors hosting private, in-store, make overs. In addition to volunteer support, we are incredibly grateful for their contribution of over $10,000 to The Periwinkle Foundation. We are proud to announce that Periwinkle is once again their chosen charity, and we are already beginning to plan for their volunteers at Camp Periwinkle! Help us say THANK YOU to Sephora, and next time you’re in the mood for a make over, keep them in mind!

Why do we love volunteers? Let our Staff tell you!

alice rohrman

“I love our volunteers because our volunteers love our kids and families. Without them, there wouldn’t be camps, arts or survivor programs. They make all the fun possible!” – Alice Rohrman, Development Director

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