Perseverance is that faculty that emerges when we make mistakes over and over again and do not cease in our efforts.

The South Carolina Youth Advocacy Program is looking for foster parents in the area for children who need a new start with a family.

Special Projects Director John Connery says it can be rewarding and life changing for those who step up and take on the challenge.

“You can have an impact on a child that you foster that completely changes their life from one that was not going so well, to one that turns into a thriving child, moving on and living their life in a real positive, constructive way and leading towards a productive member of their community and society,” Connery said.

SCYAP is a service that places foster care kids into a new home. They have offices in Charleston, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, and their main office in Columbia. The main office covers the Midlands, with Orangeburg included.

Foster families currently reside in the area, but they would like more volunteers.

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“We have a number of foster families in the Orangeburg area. We need a good bit more families in the Orangeburg area, and one of the things is, if there’s not enough families in a particular county, then the child may have to go to a foster home in another county,” Connery said.

“So that means disrupting their school and they have to go to a brand-new school, in a home with a brand-new family that they don’t know already,” Connery said.

The Samaritan House in Orangeburg is planning a number of events for National Hunger and Homelessness Month.

The program doesn’t have cookie-cutter ideas on what the ideal foster family can look like. They can come in any shape, color, or size.

“There is no real ideal family, I’ll give you some of the myths. One myth is that you have to be married to be a foster parent. That’s not true. You can be a single male or single female. You can have your own children. You can be living with a life partner of the opposite sex or the same sex as long as there’s adequate and appropriate bedroom space in the house to add a foster child,” Connery said.

Connery said the real litmus test for being a foster parent comes down to the dedication of the parent.

“It really comes down to having the commitment in your heart to do this because it’s not easy, as you might imagine, to take a child that you don’t know. That’s the most important thing and that’s what we really look at,” Connery said.

There are criminal background checks and the household has to have enough income to provide for the child. Training is also required.

Beulah Mack of Orangeburg has decades of experience with children that she says brought back a sense of normalcy to her home.

“Once all my kids left, I was lonely. I was looking for something that I would be able to do and enjoy. A good friend told me how rewarding it was, what a good feeling you get from helping kids and inviting kids home,” Mack said.

Mack says that there are many challenges that come along the way but she enjoys the rewards that come along with being a foster parent.

“Most of the kids who come in my home, they refer to me as mom. I don’t ask them to do that. I would never ask to be called that because they are not my birth children,” Mack said.

She said, “Give it a try, you never know, it’s not for everyone. You have people saying ‘I don’t know how you deal with those kids.’ But I’ve been doing it for almost six years now. I enjoy it.”

To start the process of becoming a foster parent, visit the SCYAP website: Or call 1-800-882-5513 or email

The South Carolina Youth Advocate Program is a private, non-profit child-placing and family-serving organization. SCYAP has served children and families in South Carolina since 1990.

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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