The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?
At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.
Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in North Charleston, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.
At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:
We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!
Most Popular Countertops in North Charleston, SC
Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.
Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:
Marble Countertops in North Charleston, SC
There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.
- Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
- Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
- Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Granite Countertops in North Charleston, SC
When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.
- Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
- Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
- Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.
Quartz Countertops in North Charleston, SC
Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).
- Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
- Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
- Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
Silestone Countertops in North Charleston, SC
A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.
- Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
- Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
- Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver
Quartzite Countertops in North Charleston, SC
Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.
- Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
- Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
- Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
Which Countertop is Right for You?
If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.
How Will You Use Your Countertops in North Charleston?
The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.
- Do you cook a lot?
- Do you host a lot of parties?
- How long will you be living in your home?
- How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?
Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.
Keep these points in mind:
- Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
- Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
- Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.
The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in North Charleston, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?
You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:
- Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
- Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
- Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
- If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
- Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.
Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?
For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.
Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
- Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
- Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
- Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
- Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
- Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:
Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.
Countertop Remodeling Done Right
At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in North Charleston, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.
The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in North Charleston, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.
What Clients Say About Us
Countertop Installation for Sue Gregory
Custom Countertops for Ellen Bowdon
Granite Countertops for Holly Washington
Kitchen Countertops for CFR Williams
Quartz Countertops for Judy Galuppo
Countertop Installation for Emma Fitzpatrick
Laminate Countertops for Carla Greene
Countertop Replacement for Barbara Piper
New Countertop for Daney Herrera
Custom Countertops for bob shafer
Granite Countertops for MrMunsters1313
Kitchen Remodel for Barbara Piper
Kitchen Countertops for Carol Moura
Quartz Countertops for Shoshanna Richek
Marble Countertops for David Glunt
Latest News in North Charleston, SC
New North Charleston restaurant on way; owner of once-burned building wants rooftop bar
A restaurant and bar that pays homage to the year North Charleston was founded and the Lowcountry’s aviation industry plans to open soon near Tanger Outlets.Jason and Teresa Harter of Ohio plan to launch Hangar 72 Sports Tavern at 4951 Centre Pointe Drive tentatively in November, according to Emily Benedict of the commercial real estate firm We Sell Restaurants.The name is meant to reflect that Charleston Internat...
A restaurant and bar that pays homage to the year North Charleston was founded and the Lowcountry’s aviation industry plans to open soon near Tanger Outlets.
Jason and Teresa Harter of Ohio plan to launch Hangar 72 Sports Tavern at 4951 Centre Pointe Drive tentatively in November, according to Emily Benedict of the commercial real estate firm We Sell Restaurants.
The name is meant to reflect that Charleston International Airport and Boeing Co.’s aircraft assembly plant are nearby. The 72 figure gives a nod to North Charleston when it became a city 50 years ago, in 1972.
The free-standing building has two bars and two separate dining areas “that they’re opening as a sports tavern with airport hangar vibe,” Benedict said.
The Harters have operated a similar sports bar near Columbus, Ohio, for more than five years. The North Charleston site will be their second operation.
The 6,000-square-foot space was formerly occupied by Fiery Crab Seafood, which faltered after opening at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Before that, it was Fatz Café, which closed in 2019.
The owner of a downtown Charleston building that suffered a fire in 2013 wants to add a rooftop terrace to the redeveloped property.
Yashik Development will ask the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals Oct. 18 for a special exception to allow a late-night use for a bar and restaurant that is within 500 feet of the French Quarter residential district.
The two-story structure in the tourist district is at 213 East Bay St. across from the U.S. Custom House and just south of the City Market.
Citadel Mall is welcoming its newest tenant.
Lillie’s of Charleston marked its grand opening Oct. 12 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tasting samples.
The store can be found between Center Court and the Food Court. It offers Southern and Lowcountry barbecue sauces, hot sauces, spice mixes, popcorn, gift boxes and other items.
A downtown Charleston jewelry shop is adding a new permanent collection by a New York City designer.
Croghan’s Jewel Box at 308 King St. will unveil Marla Aaron’s designs in a showcase called “The Marla Bar” on Oct. 14.
Aaron will be on hand 10 a.m.-5 p.m. to meet with customers and talk about the custom jewelry display, an exclusive to Croghan’s that will be filled with the designer’s signature locks and chains.
The Big Apple resident launched her first collection in 2012 when her combined obsessions with bridges, hardware and jewelry could no longer be ignored.
All of the pieces in the collection are made and finished by hand in New York City and sold all over the world. Although recognized for its streamlined, industrial look, the collection is rooted in the personal and emotional jewelry of the Victorian and Georgian eras and has expanded to incorporate many other elements.
The company’s approach to jewelry led to the December 2017 installation of Aaron’s first vending machine at the Brooklyn Museum. She and her company are in the process of building more machines.
Her entire collection was exhibited in 2016 in New York City at the Museum of American Finance in an exhibit entitled “Gold: Worth its Weight.”
Aaron releases new designs regularly on Instagram first. She also created the #lockyourmom project, which has given single moms across the country thousands of sterling silver baby heartlocks.
A auto body repair shop wants to expand its footprint in West Ashley.
Caliber Collision plans to add a 1,950-square-foot building at 1077 Jenkins Road on the backside of its business at 1893 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., according to site plans.
The car repair business has eight locations in the Charleston area.
It’s getting chilly out, so why not curl up on the couch with an inexpensive book.
The Fall Book Sale to support Charleston County Public Library system is set for 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 14 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 15 at the newly remodeled Cynthia Graham Hurd/St. Andrews Library Branch at 1735 N. Woodmere Drive in West Ashley.
It’s the first time the sale has been held at the library since 2019. Paperbacks start at $1 and hardbacks at $4.
Charleston Friends of the Library will host a a presale event for its members 4-7 p.m. Oct. 13.
Participation in Halloween events is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for the first time this year.
Sixty-nine percent of consumers plan to celebrate the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. Participants will spend a record $10.6 billion on the spooky season, or about $100 per person. That’s up from $10.1 billion last year.
The outlay on costumes is expected to be $3.6 billion while candy, decorations and greeting cards round out the rest of the spending.
The top three children’s Halloween costumes will be Spiderman, princess and a witch. The top three adult costumes will be witch, vampire and ghost.
5 crowned to represent Lowcountry at Miss SC, Miss SC Teen
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Palmetto State now has a new Miss Summerville, Miss Summerville Teen, Miss North Charleston, Miss North Charleston Teen, and Miss Lowcountry after the five were crowned over the weekend.Sixteen women and teens, ranging in age from 13 to 25 competed for the four titles.Mary Kimball Osborn, 21, was crowned Miss Summerville 2023. Osborn, a senior Broadcast Journalism student at the University of South Carolina, plans to pursue a career in sports commentating or sideline reporting. Osborn gave a vocal ...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Palmetto State now has a new Miss Summerville, Miss Summerville Teen, Miss North Charleston, Miss North Charleston Teen, and Miss Lowcountry after the five were crowned over the weekend.
Sixteen women and teens, ranging in age from 13 to 25 competed for the four titles.
Mary Kimball Osborn, 21, was crowned Miss Summerville 2023. Osborn, a senior Broadcast Journalism student at the University of South Carolina, plans to pursue a career in sports commentating or sideline reporting. Osborn gave a vocal performance to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz for the talent portion of the competition. Her platform is “I Hear You,” which focuses on the importance of being heard during this increasing time of mental health issues.
The new Miss North Charleston 2023 is Catherine Smith. The 25-year-old L2 Juris Doctor Candidate from Charleston School of Law performed an operatic vocal piece, “Donde Lieta Usci.” During her reign, she’ll be promoting “Saved by Strength: Suicide Awareness and Prevention.” Smith was also awarded the Overall Talent and On-Stage Question awards for the competition.
Amberlyn White, 25, became the first Miss Lowcountry crowned since 2019. White will spend her year promoting fire safety through her social impact initiative “Beyond Stop, Drop, and Roll.” The Clemson University graduate performed an upbeat contemporary clogging routine for her talent. In addition to being crowned, White also won the “Spirit of the Lowcountry” award for most ticket sales as well as named “Miss Congeniality” by her fellow candidates.
Osborn, Smith and White each earned a $700 college scholarship and will now go on to compete at Miss South Carolina next summer where they will be able to earn additional college scholarships and the title of Miss South Carolina.
Kailey Williams, 17, was crowned Miss Summerville Teen 2023. A senior at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, she performed a pop vocal with the ukulele for her talent, which won the Teen Talent Award. Williams’s platform is active bullying prevention.
Fifteen-year-old Addison Mann is the new Miss North Charleston Teen. Mann, who is a sophomore at Hanahan High School, performed a contemporary/lyrical dance to “Ghost Town” for her talent. She plans to spend her year promoting the importance of school safety. In addition to being crowned, Mann was awarded the Teen Evening Gown & On-Stage Question award.
Saturday’s competition was held at Trident Technical College’s College Center.
The five new titleholders will compete at Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen Competition in Columbia next June.
Winners at the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageants will advance to the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competitions.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
What to do for the week of Nov. 9
Charleston Prism Party and Pride Festival Head to The Refinery Nov. 11 for the Charleston Pride Prism Party where DJ Natty Heavy will be spinning tunes all night. You can enjoy more than a dozen drag performances plus a selection of food trucks and adult beverages. The Charleston Pride Festival will take place the following day at the same location with an array of family friendly entertainment including a lineup of more than 20 performances.Nov. 11-12. Times vary. $22-$65. The Refinery. 1640 Meeting Street Road. ...
Charleston Prism Party and Pride Festival Head to The Refinery Nov. 11 for the Charleston Pride Prism Party where DJ Natty Heavy will be spinning tunes all night. You can enjoy more than a dozen drag performances plus a selection of food trucks and adult beverages. The Charleston Pride Festival will take place the following day at the same location with an array of family friendly entertainment including a lineup of more than 20 performances.
Nov. 11-12. Times vary. $22-$65. The Refinery. 1640 Meeting Street Road. Downtown. charlestonpride.org
Annual Festival of LightsThe 33rd annual Holiday Festival of Lights kicks off Nov. 11 and runs through Dec. 31. Families visit James Island County Park to view beautiful holiday light displays made up more than two million lights. Drive through the three-mile stretch of park to marvel at the decorative creations. But, don’t forget to stop at Santa’s Village and explore the holiday attractions on foot, including an enchanted walking trail, a Christmas gift shop, a s’mores making station and more.
Nov. 11-Dec. 31. 5:30-10 p.m. $15-$20 per vehicle. James Island County Park. 871 Riverland Drive. Holidayfestivaloflights.com
Park Circle Gallery: Concurrent solo exhibits Mixed media sculpturist Tina Hirsig and fiber artist Jo-Ann Morgan will display vastly different artworks in the Park Circle Gallery throughout November and December. Hirsig’s work ranges from found object sculpture to image transfer prints in resin on wood panels. Morgan’s quilted wall hangings depict collective emotions shared between people.
Nov. 9-Dec 31. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 12-4 p.m. Sat. Free. 4820 Jenkins Ave. North Charleston. northcharleston.org
Piece by Piece at Charleston Crafts GalleryCharleston Crafts Gallery will exhibit four South Carolina artists working with glass, wood and ceramic materials over the next four weeks. The artworks range from mosaic caricatures, interlocked wood inlays, stained glass pieces and wooden bowls, decorative items and jewelry. Each artist uniquely captures vibrant colors and rich textures in their creations.
Nov. 13-Dec. 10. 11 a.m.-6 p.m Tues.-Sun. Free. Charleston Crafts Gallery. 84 Society St. Downtown. shopcharlestoncrafts.com
Palmetto Brewing Co. Tour and TastingIf you’re interested in learning history and drinking locally brewed beer, take a tour of Palmetto Brewing Co., the oldest brewery in South Carolina. Learn about the original brewery, which opened in 1888 before beer production was shut down in South Carolina in the early 1900s. Walk through the facility’s high-production brewing area and speakeasy taproom. Admission includes a pint glass with a complimentary pour, a koozie and 25% off food truck fare.
Nov. 11. 4 p.m. $22. Palmetto Brewing Co. 289 Huger St. Downtown. palmettobrewery.com
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Bosch Expanding Dorchester County Operations with Launch of Electric Motor Production
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, today announced the launch of electric motor production at its operation in Dorchester County. The company also announced a $260 million investment expected to create 350 new jobs associated with this new production line.With operations in Dorchester County since 1974, Bosch is expanding its mobility-related production with new electrification products including rotor, ...
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, today announced the launch of electric motor production at its operation in Dorchester County. The company also announced a $260 million investment expected to create 350 new jobs associated with this new production line.
With operations in Dorchester County since 1974, Bosch is expanding its mobility-related production with new electrification products including rotor, stator and final-assembled electric motors. An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to provide propulsion in electric vehicles.
Located at 8101 Dorchester Road in North Charleston, Bosch will produce electric motors in a building that formerly manufactured diesel components. The company will also expand the building by nearly 75,000 square feet to accommodate for future additional production of electric motors.
Electric motor production at the Dorchester County operation is already underway, and the expansion is expected to be complete by 2025. The company is re-skilling and up-skilling current Bosch associates as part of the transition to support electrification. Individuals interested in new opportunities with the Bosch team should visit the company’s careers page.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project.
In August, Bosch also announced an expansion at its Anderson County facility to include the production of fuel cell stacks that will drive hydrogen-powered Class 8 trucks.
“We have grown our electrification business globally and here in the North American region. We’ve invested more than $6 billion in electromobility development, and in 2021, our global orders for electromobility surpassed $10 billion for the first time. Local production helps to advance our customers’ regional electrification strategies and further supports the market demand for electrification.”-Bosch North America President Mike Mansuetti
“As more electrified solutions come to the market, the strong footprint and skilled workforce in South Carolina are well established to help organizations bring these solutions to the market. We are grateful for another strong commitment from Bosch to our state.”-Gov. Henry McMaster
“Bosch is paving the way by showing the growth opportunities for existing manufacturing facilities that support new technology. Congratulations to Bosch on another major investment in South Carolina.”-Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“South Carolina Ports celebrates Bosch as it embarks on electric motor production in Dorchester County. Bosch’s significant investment will power electric vehicles and create more jobs in the Lowcountry. SC Ports has been a critical component of Bosch’s supply chain for decades, providing efficient operations and reliable service. We are thrilled to continue supporting Bosch’s innovations as it grows its electrification business.”-SC Ports President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Melvin
“We are proud of our long-term relationship with Bosch and congratulate them on their latest expansion in Dorchester County. Bosch’s decision to bring electric vehicle technology to Dorchester County is yet another example of our ongoing commitment to help our businesses and industries prosper.” -Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn
“Our region offers an incredible combination of resources for world-renowned manufacturers, and this expansion of Bosch’s footprint after years of residency in Dorchester County is testament to why the tri-county area is prime for global business. Congratulations to Bosch, our partners in Dorchester County and to everyone involved in this impactful economic development win that will bring jobs and opportunities to our residents.”-Charleston Regional Development Alliance Chairman Mike Fuller
FIVE FAST FACTS
The Lowcountry needs more foster parents for teenagers
Local foster parents say caring for foster children can seem like a daunting undertaking, but it can change lives. And that, they say, makes fostering more than worth it.The South Carolina Youth Advocacy Program has worked alongside the S.C. Department of Social Services for the past 30 years to recruit and support therapeutic foster families throughout the state. The Youth Advocacy Program, which has a Lowcountry office in North Charleston, needs about 150 families in the Charleston area to open their homes, officials say. In particu...
Local foster parents say caring for foster children can seem like a daunting undertaking, but it can change lives. And that, they say, makes fostering more than worth it.
The South Carolina Youth Advocacy Program has worked alongside the S.C. Department of Social Services for the past 30 years to recruit and support therapeutic foster families throughout the state. The Youth Advocacy Program, which has a Lowcountry office in North Charleston, needs about 150 families in the Charleston area to open their homes, officials say. In particular, there is a shortage of families for teenagers who need foster care.
“I think there’s just sort of a natural reluctance around taking on teenagers because they can be a lot more to handle,” said John Connery of Columbia, special projects director for S.C. Youth Advocacy Program. “There are not many families that are willing to take teenagers — so they’re really golden when we do find them.”
He said there is a continuing challenge to find families to keep up with demand. To help build strong relationships when recruiting and training, the program walks prospective foster parents through certification step-by-step and provides on-call support service.
“Every state child welfare system does not have enough families,” Connery said.Connery has been with the S.C. Youth Advocacy Program for about 12 years after retiring from a 33-year career with the state Department of Mental Health. He also helped found the Berkeley Community Mental Health Center in 1980.“To me, the most rewarding thing is to hear those stories that occur with the kids and the difference that foster families can make in these children’s lives when they’re in a very vulnerable situation,” Connery said.
Rose Bankston of North Charleston has been a foster parent for 27 years. While she worked in newspaper delivery and collection
when she first became a single foster mom, these days she’s a married homemaker. She adopted two of her first foster children.
“It is the most rewarding thing you will ever do with your life,” Bankston told the City Paper. “Not only have I helped the children, they have helped me become a better person and [grow] in understanding and gratitude for what I have.”
She’s cared for teenage girls in the foster care system for almost 10 years. And while there were times when it was tough to deal with the emotions that they were feeling, she realized that with gentle communication and strong boundaries, she could earn their respect and help them feel secure.
Bankston recalled taking care of one high school aged girl who had been told she would never amount to anything and never graduate from high school.
“She ended up graduating high school and it was the most emotional moment for me standing there with her real mom when she walked down that aisle,” Bankston said. “It was just awesome.”
She emphasized that fostering was challenging. “But just give it a try, because it will keep you grounded. One thing you say to a child may change their whole life, because they’re going to remember that somebody loved them and took time for them — and that’s all that these children want.”
Amanda and Jason Dolinski of West Ashley, both 43, became licensed foster parents through the Youth Advocacy Program two years ago. They have six children of their own and currently foster two children, including a teenager. They’ve had some teenagers come into their homes for a few months at a time. Currently, they’ve been caring for their foster daughter for 18 months.
“It’s always surprising to me how mature a 14-year-old kid can be that’s coming into foster care, and [from] the life experiences that they’ve been through, there’s a real beautiful friendship that can happen,” Jason said.
Amanda said she really appreciates how the Youth Advocacy Program’s staff is communicative and attentive during the certification process and beyond.
“There’s no timeframe as far as when you have to be licensed,” she said, “but I would suggest if you have any desire at all that you get the packet, start the process and even just look through what you have to have done to get licensed. You learn a lot through it all.”
For Amanda, some of the most impactful experiences she’s had is sharing family time with the foster kids she’s made a home for.
“Sharing a tradition of carving a pumpkin or decorating a Christmas tree or going apple picking or going camping — these kids probably have never experienced that in their life.”
The Dolinskis said they hoped potential foster parents understood that fostering a child is not a stepping-stone to adoption — although it can be. Fostering a child can be a temporary situation and help struggling parents get back on their feet to eventually care for their own children again.
“It doesn’t have to be that you’re going to take a kid in forever,” Amanda said. “It might be that you’re just giving a family an opportunity to have a restart or reset.”
Jonathan Dugan, who is interning to become an assistant principal of Knightsville Elementary School in Summerville, has been a single foster parent for about four years and currently fosters three boys in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“These kids are wonderful,” Dugan told the City Paper. “They just need an opportunity to be allowed to be who they are, to make a few mistakes and to know that they’re genuinely loved. My children will tell you that I am the most predictable person in the world. Everything’s the same routine.
“Whenever you do something, my response is usually the same. They know what to expect. And that gives them some stability.”
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