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Like Nikki, Vicki Bull also lost a child. Her
eldest daughter, Sunshine Royston, was killed
in a limousine accident one week before she
was to be married, leaving behind three
small children, a groom, and a grieving
family and wide circle of friends. In the
depths of her grief, Vicki's concern was
for her grandchildren's response to the
tragedy. "Until something like this happens
to you, you don't think about grief
counseling for children. The child isn't
sick, they don't have a broken arm . . .
it's not something you think about."
Vicki was able to find counseling for
Sunshine's oldest boy, who was 5 at the
time. "He was the only one old enough to participate
in any counseling, and he's doing pretty well. The
younger children (ages 2 years and 8 months)
weren't really aware of the extent of it all."
Realizing that other children who experience
trauma or grief at a very young age could also
benefit from therapeutic care, Vicki established
Sunshine's Angels to honor her daughter's memory
and personality. Providing early intervention for
children who have experienced trauma, or who
face a major transition in their lives, is critical to
their future emotional health. "Sunshine's name
fit her very well she was very loving and had
great compassion. She had a great sense of humor
and she just lit up a room when she came into it.
Even as a preteen, she cared for younger children
helping with girl scouts, working as a substitute
teacher. Every year she participated in the
Christmas Wish Tree at
Model A Fitness, making
sure to buy gifts for children in less fortunate
families . . . I wanted to keep her personality alive
for her children, who didn't have enough time to
know her . . . She always wanted to help children
and
Sunshine's Angels was founded to `pay it
forward' and celebrate her compassion."
In addition to Vicki, the Board of
Sunshine's
Angels includes Cameron Ingool, Deidra Anderson
and Lisa Jones as well as three professional therapists
experienced with young children and families. The
Board is in the process of developing criteria and a
therapeutic model for recipients of funding from
Sunshine's Angels. Fund-raising activities are
being planned to provide counseling services that
might not be affordable for young children who
have experienced trauma or grief. May 11 will be
Sunshine's Angels Night at Wendy's, 1604
Conowingo Road, Bel Air, from 6 to 10pm, with
10% of all sales donated to
Sunshine's Angels.
On July 11, the First Annual 5KRun/Walk & 1 Mile
Family Fun Walk
will begin at
North Harford High
School at 8am. Early registration, by May 31, $20;
Registration, June 1 to July 10, $25; Race Day
Registration $30. Registration includes T-shirt for
every participant, as well as water stations along
the course and post race refreshments. Visit
www.sunshinesangels.com to register.
July 15 is Sunshine's birthday. Vicki would like to
rededicate that day as Happy Sunshine Day a day
to make the extra effort to do something kind for
someone else, a day to emulate Sunshine's many
kindnesses compassionate and caring spirit. "Last
July (the first after Sunshine's death), we started
wishing people a `Happy Sunshine Day.' I'd like to
see it spread, so that every year, July 15 is Happy
Sunshine Day
. . . I want there to be Sunshine all
over the place!"
Visit the Foundation at:
www.sunshinesangels.com to find out how you
can participate to help provide therapeutic care
for children in Harford County.
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