Colucci’s Jewelers. | 10016 Dorchester rd Summerville SC 29485

Best Jewelry Store in James Island, SC

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We want like to take a moment to welcome you to Colucci's Jewelers - James Island's premier jewelry store for more than 60 years. We are so happy that you decided to visit our website! We hope that while you're here, you will begin to get a sense of why so many customers choose Colucci's Jewelers over other jewelry stores in James Island, SC.
In an industry known for snobby salespeople and overpriced items, Colucci's Jewelers brings warm smiles and affordable prices to jewelry shoppers in the Lowcountry. Unlike other jewelers in James Island, the Colucci team focuses on providing customers with an unmatched jewelry experience, from the moment they pull into our parking lot to the minute they leave our showroom. We believe our customers deserve special attention, and our goal is to provide them with friendly, personalized service every time they visit.

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The Colucci Difference

As a certified jeweler with more than 50 years in the industry, Stefan Colucci has built his reputation on excellence and execution. With a wealth of knowledge and a passion for precision, Stefan pours his heart into every custom-made piece of jewelry, repair, restoration, and appraisal that he completes at Colucci's Jewelers. With consistent craftsmanship and impressive attention to detail, Stefan's ability to cater to all your jewelry needs will exceed your expectations every time.
While Stefan focuses on creating unforgettable custom jewelry for you or your loved one, his wife Summer specializes in customer service. Kind, patient, and knowledgeable in her own right, Summer will take all the time necessary to answer your questions and guide you through the jewelry selection process. Whether you're stressed out looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring or need to restore a priceless family heirloom, Summer will make sure you receive the attention you deserve.
When you shop at Colucci's Jewelry, understand that we will never try to pressure you into a purchase or provide you with lackluster service if you're "window shopping." We treat each of our customers with the same exceptional care, whether they are repeat clients or new faces.
Colucci's is a name you can trust - there's a reason we were voted Best Jeweler in 2019 by Readers Choice!

Estate Jewelry James Island, SC

We offer several different jewelry styles and services in James Island, from breathtaking engagement rings to extensive repairs. Keep reading to learn more about a few of our specialties.

 Jewelry Stores James Island, SC

Diamond Engagement Rings in James Island

Proposing to the love of your life is one of the most beautiful, memorable moments that two people will ever share as a couple. An engagement ring symbolizes love and acceptance; it epitomizes trust and commitment. While no two proposals will ever be exactly the same, there is one constant that will always remain true: the diamond engagement ring you choose from Colucci's Jewelers will give you a lifetime of pleasure and contentment.
We understand that choosing the right engagement ring is one of the most important decisions you can make. That is why we pair the finest engagement jewelry in James Island, SC, with one-on-one showings and helpful advice - to ensure that you discover dazzling rings at an affordable price. With the Colucci team by your side, we take second-guessing out of the equation, so you can focus on popping the question with confidence. After all, a diamond engagement ring is meant to be cherished for a lifetime!

Factors to Consider Before Buying an Engagement Ring

We find that taking the time to give our clients as much information as possible makes their experience easier and more enjoyable. Before you visit our store in person, consider the following factors when choosing an engagement ring:

  • Ring Size: Knowing your fiance's ring size is crucial, especially if you're planning a surprise without her knowing. Borrow one of her rings and bring it to Colucci's Jewelers, and we will measure free of charge. For the perfect fit, we can also resize her ring when the time is right.
  • Jewelry Preference: Sapphire? Ruby? Emerald? Diamond? At Colucci Jewelry, we have a wide range of gemstones to choose from which to choose, as well as settings and metal types. Ask your fiancee's friends or family for tips, or better yet, ask her yourself if you can do so without spoiling the surprise.
  • 4 C's: The four C's represent color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. If you're just starting your search, this system might be foreign to you, but it is a trusted grading system used throughout the world. We recommend you visit Colucci's Jewelers for a quick education on this system, so you can find a quality diamond at a price that fits within your budget.
 Jewelry Repair James Island, SC

On-Site Jewelry Services in James Island

 Full Service Jewelry Store James Island, SC

With regular care and maintenance, your piece of fine jewelry from Colucci's Jewelers will give you a lifetime of enjoyment. Whether your favorite emerald necklace needs cleaning or a small diamond in your engagement ring is loose, we are happy to help. With more than 50 years of experience as Colucci's Jewelers' in-house repair expert, Stefan Colucci will handle your jewelry with care and compassion. Stefan is also highly skilled at creating designer jewelry in James Island, SC. If you have a grand idea for a custom jewelry project, Stefan will consult with you one-on-one to turn your dream into reality.

In addition to the above services, Colucci Jewelers also offers:

  • Class Rings
  • Cash for Gold
  • Gold Dealer Services
  • Consignment Services
  • Custom Diamond Engagement Rings
  • Luxury Watches
  • Luxury Watch Repair
  • Rhodium Plating
  • Same-Day Jewelry Repair
  • Gold Coins for Sale
  • Restringing

Don't risk sending your jewelry off to another state or country to be repaired by someone you can't see or talk to - as the premier on-site jewelry store in James Island, we will handle all of your jewelry needs in person, with hard work and a smile.

If you need to get your fine jewelry appraised for insurance purposes, Colucci's Jewelers can help.

It's a great idea to get your jewelry appraised periodically. As the years pass along, the value of your precious metals and gemstones can fluctuate. If your last appraisal was more than two years ago, you could run into problems with your insurance coverage. If your jewelry is insured for less than its replacement value, you could lose a substantial amount of money if it is stolen or lost.

To help prevent situations like this from happening, our on-site jeweler Stefan Colucci will provide you with an up-to-date appraisal report based on your jewelry's current market value. That way, you can update your insurance accordingly.

We also specialize in estate jewelry appraisals, so you know exactly how much your old jewelry is worth if you are thinking of selling.

Our appraisal services include:

  • Diamond Appraisals
  • Insurance Appraisals
  • Court Appraisals
  • Estate Jewelry Appraisals
  • Cash Offer for Appraised Jewelry

Jewelry Appraisal Services in James Island

 Best Jewelry Store James Island, SC
 Cash For Jewelry James Island, SC

Sell Your Jewelry in James Island

Selling jewelry from years past can be a hard experience. Estate jewelry, in particular, can have sentimental value attached and can be hard to sell. This is because jewelry is often a symbol of achievement or affection, such as your class ring from high school or your grandmother's wedding band. At Colucci's Jewelers, we understand the connection to old jewelry and appreciate the memories and value you have with these antique pieces.

In addition to the personal value, antique and estate jewelry can be quite valuable from a monetary standpoint. Estate jewelry is extremely popular in this day and age. Many Lowcountry locals are selling their vintage pieces to trusted jewelry stores in James Island, SC, like Colucci's Jewelers.

Many customers choose to sell their jewelry to Colucci's Jewelers because we offer an intimate, honest experience - something that you will certainly not receive if you list your jewelry for sale on an internet marketplace. We will be upfront with you every step of the way to help separate personal value from monetary value, and will present you with a fair offer to consider.

If you are interested in selling your jewelry, we encourage you to visit our showroom to meet our staff and get an accurate appraisal of your jewelry's worth.

We buy a multitude of different jewelry, including:
  • Estate Jewelry
  • Custom Jewelry
  • Antique Jewelry
  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds
  • Male Wedding Rings
  • Female Wedding Rings
  • Engagement Rings
  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • All-Things Rolex

James Island's Most Trusted Jewelry Store

We are proud and grateful to have served thousands of customers looking for quality jewelry and a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere. We would love the opportunity to speak with you face-to-face so that we can learn what you're looking for and what you love about jewelry. Whether you're looking for a custom diamond engagement ring or need friendly advice about what looks right, we are here help.

Latest News in James Island, SC

What’s it mean to be a coastal grandmother in SC? Whether you’re 22 or 73 you might be one

You don’t have to be a grandma, or anywhere close to it, to achieve this title. In fact, you can be any age and live practically anywhere to channel your inner coastal grandmother. Chances are if you live in South Carolina, you might be one.Exactly what is the coastal grandmother aesthetic?To be a coastal grandmother here in South Carolina means to live a lifestyle based primarily out of necessity — a natural way of living, but for many, it is an aspirational lifestyle inspired by Nancy Meyers films, or more specifi...

You don’t have to be a grandma, or anywhere close to it, to achieve this title. In fact, you can be any age and live practically anywhere to channel your inner coastal grandmother. Chances are if you live in South Carolina, you might be one.

Exactly what is the coastal grandmother aesthetic?

To be a coastal grandmother here in South Carolina means to live a lifestyle based primarily out of necessity — a natural way of living, but for many, it is an aspirational lifestyle inspired by Nancy Meyers films, or more specifically the romantic comedy, “Something’s Gotta Give.”

“Coastal grandmothers are those who are effortlessly stylish (but in a comfy way), have a put-together presence (without trying too hard), know how to be the best hostess (while never breaking a sweat,) and appreciate the finer things (yet still feel approachable,)” according to Southern Living Magazine.

The lifestyle embodies the love for clean, light, simplistic beachfront properties, white button-down shirts, Ina Garten, cozy interiors, fresh flowers, white wine, going to bed early and a laid-back, minimalistic, coastal feel. For those here in South Carolina, it’s an instinctual way of interior style and dressing relative to the climate.

Epitomized by Diane Keaton’s linen-clad 2003 movie character, who frequents farmer’s markets and drinks white wine in an all-white kitchen and oceanfront Hamptons estate, the coastal grandmother style is one that is chic, comfortable, light and airy.

The style has recently monopolized trends and lifestyle goals, ranging from fashion to interior design, to a whole perspective on life and way of living.

The typical coastal grandmother does not decorate her home as a maritime museum, but rather, he or she gravitates toward coastal neutrals, light-colored breezy linens, minimalistic style and light-colored, chunky knit sweaters.

When it comes to creating a home that fits this coastal aesthetic, luxury furniture and accessories maker Serena & Lily describes the coastal grandmother style as “white knits, ocean blues, classic designs mixed with relaxed rattan.”

Rattan is a good accent choice to pair with neutral decorations as sold by Serena & Lily and offered in many South Carolina furniture boutiques, and investing in some freshly cut flower arrangements, like hydrangeas or peonies, would offer a further coastal grandmother aesthetic similar to the home featured in “Something’s Gotta Give.”

As for fashion, the coastal grandmother is described as being chic yet simply arranged. The pieces in his or her closet are ones that could always be in style. White jeans are a must, as are knit sweaters, cashmere, linen, tortoiseshell hair clips and straw hats. Whites, blues, khakis, creams and pale neutrals are the go-to colors. Comfort and appearing effortless are the two most important things to remember when dressing like a coastal grandmother. Looking comfortable, clean and put together as though ready to relax on the back patio, dock or garden with your favorite glass of white wine is the goal.

“That 45 and up woman around here is, it’s all about three things. Staying cool because it’s so hot here. Being stylish, but they want to look effortless. Every woman wants to throw it on and they don’t want to be too fussy about their hair and their accessories. They want it to kind of look like they just woke up like this,” said Hilton Head Island’s Birdie James owner and creative director, Michelle Taylor, when asked about the coastal grandmother style in South Carolina.

Birdie James can be found in Shelter Cove Towne Center at 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Unit 111, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928.

“I’ve noticed around here, 70 and 80 years old on Hilton Head is like no other place I’ve ever seen. These women are busy, and they’re fit. They are golfing, they’re lunching, they’re volunteering and fundraising and so they want to be dressed for every occasion.”

“Our clients typically come to us for our monochromatic collection.” Taylor continued. “We have some color and we have picked up patterns and pops of color. Currently, we’re the most colorful we’ve ever been.”

“I really feel like Birdie James was really strong in that sort of grays, beige color scheme and so we have collections that offer those beiges, grays, light blues, light greens, anything that’s really sort of like minty but sort of cloudy.”

While you can be a coastal grandmother anywhere, the mantra fits in seamlessly with that of the Palmetto State and its warm, coastal climate and classic timelessness that the state represents. One cannot usually help but be caught up in the simplicity of life among the breezy salt marshes, beautiful landscapes and ocean views.

This story was originally published June 8, 2022 5:00 AM.

South Carolina high school baseball state tournament schedule, scores

Here are the scores and schedule for South Carolina Upper State and Lower State championships. Check back for updates.Send scores to 864Huddle@gannett.com.CLASS AAAAA UPPER STATEThursdayGame 1: Fort Mill 7, Boiling Springs 0Game 2: T.L. Hanna 2, Blythewood 1SaturdayGame 3: Fort Mill 4, T.L. Hanna 3Game 4 : Blythewood 2, Boiling Springs 0Monday, May 16Game 5: Blythewood 8, T.L. Hanna 7...

Here are the scores and schedule for South Carolina Upper State and Lower State championships. Check back for updates.

Send scores to 864Huddle@gannett.com.

CLASS AAAAA UPPER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Fort Mill 7, Boiling Springs 0

Game 2: T.L. Hanna 2, Blythewood 1

Saturday

Game 3: Fort Mill 4, T.L. Hanna 3

Game 4 : Blythewood 2, Boiling Springs 0

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Blythewood 8, T.L. Hanna 7

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Fort Mill 2, Blythewood 1, Fort Mill advances

CHASING DREAMS:Eastside baseball focused on a goal of a state title, because it's years in the making

FULL SWING:With swag and fierce love, Jay Dillard is turning his Clemson baseball dreams into reality

CLASS AAAAA LOWER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Lexington 8, Chapin 2

Game 2: Berkeley 8, Summerville 1

Saturday

Game 3: Berkeley 7, Lexington 2

Game 4: Chapin 5, Summerville 4

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Lexington 10, Chapin 8

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Berkeley 6, Lexington 0, Berkeley advances

CLASS AAAAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, May 21

Fort Mill 6, Berkeley 2

Tuesday, May 24

Fort Mill at Berkeley

Saturday, May 28

Fort Mill vs. Berkeley, neutral site, if nec.

CLASS AAAA UPPER STATE

Thursday

Game 2: Eastside 10, Dreher 4

Friday

Game 1: A.C. Flora 5, Laurens 0

Saturday

Game 3: A.C. Flora 6, Eastside 5

Game 4: Laurens 4, Dreher 0

May 16

Game 5: Eastside 8, Laurens 3

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Eastside 7, A.C. Flora 1, 11 innings

Game 7: Eastside 9, A.C. Flora 6, Eastside advances

CLASS AAAA LOWER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Hartsville 15, Beaufort 4

Saturday

Game 2: Airport 2, James Island 1

Monday, May 16

Game 3: James Island 4, Beaufort 0

Game 4: Hartsville 1, Airport 0

Tuesday, May 17

Game 5: Airport 10, James Island 8

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Hartsville 3, Airport 1, Hartsville advances

CLASS AAAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Tuesday, May 24 -- New date due to weather

Eastside 13, Hartsville 0, 5 inn.

Thursday, May 26 -- New date due to game one reschedule

Hartsville at Eastside -- 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 28

Eastside vs. Hartsville, neutral site, if nec.

CLASS AAA UPPER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Chapman 8, Seneca 2

Game 2: Clinton 18, Powdersville 11

Saturday

Game 3: Chapman 9, Clinton 7

Game 4: Powdersville 9, Seneca 3

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Powdersville 5, Clinton 1

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Chapman 9, Powdersville 2, Chapman advances

CLASS AAA LOWER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Brookland-Cayce 6, Hanahan 1

Game 2: Oceanside Collegiate 17, Gilbert 4

Saturday

Game 3: Oceanside Collegiate 7, Brookland-Cayce 2

Game 4: Hanahan 10, Gilbert 3

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Brookland-Cayce 7, Hanahan 3

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Oceanside Collegiate 8, Brookland-Cayce 5, Oceanside Collegiate advances

CLASS AAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, May 21

Oceanside Collegiate 7, Chapman 3

Tuesday, May 24

Oceanside Collegiate 8, Chapman 0, Oceanside Collegiate wins state title

CLASS AA UPPER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Gray Collegiate 3, Abbeville 0

Game 2: Chesterfield 8, St. Joseph’s 3

Saturday

Game 3: Gray Collegiate 9, Chesterfield 7

Game 4: St. Joseph's 11, Abbeville 4

Monday, May 16

Game 5: St. Joseph's 12, Chesterfield 4

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Gray Collegiate Academy 3, St. Joseph's 2, Gray Collegiate Academy advances

CLASS AA LOWER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Philip Simmons 8, Buford 7

Game 2: Andrew Jackson 2, Woodland 0

Saturday

Game 3: Andrew Jackson 6, Philip Simmons 3

Game 4: Woodland 1, Buford 0

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Philip Simmons 12, Woodland 3

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Andrew Jackson 8, Philip Simmons 7, Andrew Jackson advances

CLASS AA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, May 21

Andrew Jackson 8, Gray Collegiate 4

Tuesday, May 24

Andrew Jackson at Gray Collegiate Academy

Saturday, May 28

Gray Collegiate Academy vs. Andrew Jackson, neutral site, if nec.

CLASS A UPPER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: Southside Christian 14, McBee 2

Game 2: Lewisville 11, Whitmire 1

Saturday

Game 3: Southside Christian 5, Lewisville 1

Game 4: Whitmire 10, McBee 0

Monday, May 16

Game 5: Lewisville 10, Whitmire 7

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: Southside Christian 10, Lewisville 0, Southside Christian advances

CLASS A LOWER STATE

Thursday

Game 1: East Clarendon 9, Green Sea Floyds 3

Friday

Game 2: Johnsonville 6, Branchville 5

Monday, May 16

Game 3: Johnsonville 7, East Clarendon 2 -- Moved due to weather

Game 4: Branchville 9, Green Sea Floyds 5 -- Moved due to weather

Tuesday, May 17

Game 5: East Clarendon 9, Branchville 0

Wednesday, May 18

Game 6: East Clarendon 7, Johnsonville 0

Game 7: Johnsonville 6, East Clarendon 5, Johnsonville advances

CLASS A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, May 21

Southside Christian 13, Johnsonville 3 -- Five innings

Tuesday, May 24

Southside Christian 7, Johnsonville 4, Southside Christian wins state title

Send scores to 864Huddle@gannett.com.

‘The whole world changed:’ James Island woman hosts 2 Ukrainian refugees

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.In the months since the invasion, An...

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.

Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.

In the months since the invasion, Anna and her husband Eric, have traveled some 9,500 miles seeking a new home. They have asked not to share their last names to preserve their safety.

“We decided to move very far,” Anna said. “I want to have a family, grow children and just be safe.”

She packed some winter clothes for the bitter Ukrainian and Polish temperatures they first encountered, her laptop and a couple of the children’s books she had illustrated back when she had a seemingly normal life. She had a job as a graphic designer and an apartment with Eric.

“We moved to Kramatorsk because it had better conditions for us and we decided to stay there. But the whole world changed. All our plans we built, our apartment,” Eric said. “We miss our home.”

At one point the couple was separated at the U.S.-Mexico border while seeking asylum. They read from bloggers that it was the best route to take to receive a special visa specifically for Ukrainians. Eric was sent back to Reynosa, Mexico, while Anna was allowed to stay across the border in McAllen, Texas. The couple, married for two years, weren’t sure when, or if, they would see each other again.

“We were very upset and I had no way back,” Eric said. “I had no connections, no service, nothing. I don’t speak Spanish. I had stress because I didn’t know what happened with Anna and I didn’t know what I needed to do now.”

Anna went to stay with a family friend in New York and met with an immigration attorney who told her she could add Eric, who is originally from Latvia, to her asylum application. When they got back in touch with each other, Eric came to meet her on a tourist visa.

Eric and Anna are two of an estimated 6.6 million people who have fled Ukraine since February, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. As of April, there were an estimated 15,000 Ukrainian refugees in the United States, the Associated Press reports.

But entry through Mexico is no longer accepted except in “extreme circumstances,” the AP reports. Instead, the U.S. began a new program that requires people or organizations in the U.S. to sponsor Ukrainian refugees before they may enter. The goal is to accept 100,000 refugees into the U.S.

“A lot of Ukrainian people still stay in Mexico and don’t have any opportunity to come here because now it is different rules to come to America,” Eric said. “We’re lucky.”

Choosing Charleston

Some 800 miles away from Brooklyn, Julie Uhler was reading headlines about the war in Ukraine from her home on James Island when she came across a website called www.UkraineTakeShelter.com. Divorced, with her two adult daughters living on their own, Uhler felt compelled to offer up a room.

“I had a couple of friends that were like, ‘what are you doing,’” Uhler said. ”’And I’m like, ‘you know, I don’t know. But how can I not? I’m a mom.’”

Two FaceTime calls with Eric and Anna later and the pair were boarding a plane to Charleston. They knew nothing about the Lowcountry but Anna said she found common ground with Uhler who is also an artist.

The first day was awkward, Uhler admitted with a laugh. She had two strangers in her home, worlds away from the life they knew, still practicing their English.

But it didn’t take long for the trio to settle in. Eric and Anna call Uhler their “American mom.”

With no specific plan in place, Uhler started chipping away slowly at tasks that might be helpful while also trying not to overwhelm the couple. She posted on the neighborhood social media app NextDoor asking for clothing donations that were better suited for a South Carolina summer than a Ukraine winter. One neighbor donated a pair of bikes.

“Day by day. That’s how we’re living,” Uhler said.

Most days over the last two weeks at Uhler’s house, Anna and Eric have worked on Anna’s asylum application and caught up on news of the war with friends and family now scattered throughout Europe. Anna can only communicate with her father and stepfather through text message because they are in the Ukrainian military.

But the couple is forging ahead in Charleston getting more comfortable. Uhler has cooked meals, taken the couple to downtown Charleston, helped find Eric a barber shop and learned to use Google Translate. They also made their first trip to Folly Beach.

“Now we are thinking about being surfers,” Eric said.

The couple can’t find work until their visas are approved, so in the meantime Uhler set up a fundraiser and plans to host them for as long as they need. If given the opportunity, she said she’d do it again.

“The whole world changed:” James Island woman hosts two Ukrainian refugees

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.In the months since the invasion, An...

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.

Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.

In the months since the invasion, Anna and her husband Eric, have traveled some 9,500 miles seeking a new home. They have asked not to share their last names to preserve their safety.

“We decided to move very far,” Anna said. “I want to have a family, grow children and just be safe.”

She packed some winter clothes for the bitter Ukrainian and Polish temperatures they first encountered, her laptop and a couple of the children’s books she had illustrated back when she had a seemingly normal life. She had a job as a graphic designer and an apartment with Eric.

“We moved to Kramatorsk because it had better conditions for us and we decided to stay there. But the whole world changed. All our plans we built, our apartment,” Eric said. “We miss our home.”

At one point the couple was separated at the U.S.-Mexico border while seeking asylum. They read from bloggers that it was the best route to take to receive a special visa specifically for Ukrainians. Eric was sent back to Reynosa, Mexico, while Anna was allowed to stay across the border in McAllen, Texas. The couple, married for two years, weren’t sure when, or if, they would see each other again.

“We were very upset and I had no way back,” Eric said. “I had no connections, no service, nothing. I don’t speak Spanish. I had stress because I didn’t know what happened with Anna and I didn’t know what I needed to do now.”

Anna went to stay with a family friend in New York and met with an immigration attorney who told her she could add Eric, who is originally from Latvia, to her asylum application. When they got back in touch with each other, Eric came to meet her on a tourist visa.

Eric and Anna are two of an estimated 6.6 million people who have fled Ukraine since February, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. As of April, there were an estimated 15,000 Ukrainian refugees in the United States, the Associated Press reports.

But entry through Mexico is no longer accepted except in “extreme circumstances,” the AP reports. Instead, the U.S. began a new program that requires people or organizations in the U.S. to sponsor Ukrainian refugees before they may enter. The goal is to accept 100,000 refugees into the U.S.

“A lot of Ukrainian people still stay in Mexico and don’t have any opportunity to come here because now it is different rules to come to America,” Eric said. “We’re lucky.”

Choosing Charleston

Some 800 miles away from Brooklyn, Julie Uhler was reading headlines about the war in Ukraine from her home on James Island when she came across a website called www.UkraineTakeShelter.com. Divorced, with her two adult daughters living on their own, Uhler felt compelled to offer up a room.

“I had a couple of friends that were like, ‘what are you doing,’” Uhler said. ”’And I’m like, ‘you know, I don’t know. But how can I not? I’m a mom.’”

Two FaceTime calls with Eric and Anna later and the pair were boarding a plane to Charleston. They knew nothing about the Lowcountry but Anna said she found common ground with Uhler who is also an artist.

The first day was awkward, Uhler admitted with a laugh. She had two strangers in her home, worlds away from the life they knew, still practicing their English.

But it didn’t take long for the trio to settle in. Eric and Anna call Uhler their “American mom.”

With no specific plan in place, Uhler started chipping away slowly at tasks that might be helpful while also trying not to overwhelm the couple. She posted on the neighborhood social media app NextDoor asking for clothing donations that were better suited for a South Carolina summer than a Ukraine winter. One neighbor donated a pair of bikes.

“Day by day. That’s how we’re living,” Uhler said.

Most days over the last two weeks at Uhler’s house, Anna and Eric have worked on Anna’s asylum application and caught up on news of the war with friends and family now scattered throughout Europe. Anna can only communicate with her father and stepfather through text message because they are in the Ukrainian military.

But the couple is forging ahead in Charleston getting more comfortable. Uhler has cooked meals, taken the couple to downtown Charleston, helped find Eric a barber shop and learned to use Google Translate. They also made their first trip to Folly Beach.

“Now we are thinking about being surfers,” Eric said.

The couple can’t find work until their visas are approved, so in the meantime Uhler set up a fundraiser and plans to host them for as long as they need. If given the opportunity, she said she’d do it again.

James Island woman founds housing nonprofit to help single moms going back to school

JAMES ISLAND — Rebekah Lambooy knows the financial burdens single mothers face living in the Charleston region where housing costs have risen dramatically in recent years.Lambooy, a single mom of three — two boys and a girl — struggled after her divorce in 2012 to make ends meet. At the time, she had been paying just under $1,000 in rent. She didn’t qualify for government assistance because her income was just below the federal threshold.Lambooy decided in 2012 to return to college and complete her bache...

JAMES ISLAND — Rebekah Lambooy knows the financial burdens single mothers face living in the Charleston region where housing costs have risen dramatically in recent years.

Lambooy, a single mom of three — two boys and a girl — struggled after her divorce in 2012 to make ends meet. At the time, she had been paying just under $1,000 in rent. She didn’t qualify for government assistance because her income was just below the federal threshold.

Lambooy decided in 2012 to return to college and complete her bachelor’s degree to advance her career. In 2016, she obtained her business degree from the College of Charleston, earning her a raise at her job as a paralegal.

But Lambooy also used her business knowledge to establish a nonprofit that seeks to help other single mothers in similar situations. The James Island resident formed HerIndependence, which provides affordable housing for single mothers obtaining post-secondary education.

Lambooy said she’s grateful to be able to help provide some financial relief for mothers making an effort to advance their education in order to provide for their families.

“I’ve been there, done that,” she said. “I want to help somebody with just a portion of assistance that I can do.”

Lambooy got interested in housing while in college, and the interest inspired her to get a real estate license after graduating. She had also been noticing the rising costs of rent that had taking shape over the years, and she saw affordable housing as a path that could help families in need.

HerIndependence now owns three houses. Two had been abandoned buildings before the nonprofit refurbished them. They house two families where single mothers are heading back to school.

A third home is currently being redone for a new family.

The organization said it has relied mostly on federal housing funds funneled through the city of North Charleston. But as construction costs rise, Lambooy fears it could impact her organization’s ability to provide housing. She eventually wants the group to expand and host multiple projects across the region.

Donations can be made online at herindependence.com.

“This isn’t a handout,” said board member Jennifer Abrusia. “This is a way to help people who want to help themselves.”

Abrusia and Lambooy are friends who initially bonded over shared experiences. Like Lambooy, Abrusia was a single mother who struggled at times financially. The two also share the fact that they each received strong support from relatives.

“We both have kind of walked this path a little bit,” Abrusia said.

Lambooy recalled the difficult journey of balancing classes, children and a full-time job.

She scheduled her college courses at 8 a.m. so she’d be home in time to take her children to school. She’d then go to work, and then pick them up from school in the afternoon. Her day wasn’t complete until she’d finished taking them to their sports and other extracurricular activities.

Lambooy, too, said she’s thankful for those who stepped in and gave her a helping hand.

“I have a lot of supportive friends and family,” she said.

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