Dedicated to KINDness
KIND of the Upstate was established as a non-profit in 2021 by two moms, Caroline Giguere and Francie Todd. KIND stands for “kids including and nurturing disabilities.” Caroline and Francie have sons with disabilities and founded KIND to help make the Upstate community a more inclusive and kind place for their sons and others with disabilities. Caroline’s son, Row, was born with a rare genetic condition called KIF11, which contributes to multiple medical diagnoses, but his most obvious disability is blindness. Francie’s son, Hall, received a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome, which required a long stay in the NICU and multiple surgeries. Caroline and Francie understand that their sons are different from other children due to their special abilities, but what they have found deeply moving is how their brothers are able to look past their differences and see them for who they really are, Row and Hall. Caroline and Francie quickly realized if their own children are able to understand that a disability does not define a person, other children could understand these principles too. Therefore, the empathy of their children lead Caroline and Francie to form KIND of the Upstate.
KIND of the Upstate is a non profit organization that seeks to advocate for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion of people with disabilities.
- KIND of the Upstate believes that the inclusion of others starts with the individual, who can then transform families and communities around the world.
- KIND believes that books are a natural gateway for open discussion and communication about people with disabilities.
- KIND believes that this world can be a better, kinder place- starting with YOU!
- KIND’s #1 goal is to make our community a more inclusive place.
- KIND advocates for the inclusion and acceptance of all individuals with disabilities.
- KIND aims to educate people (of all ages) the importance of including others and nurturing all forms of differences amongst their peers.
- KIND strives to teach about inclusion, starting in the classroom setting.
- KIND provides educational lessons and materials which will ignite discussion amongst children and their teachers. Each child will receive a mentor text to take home in hopes of sparking a discussion with parents/guardians.
Caroline Giguere, Co-founder of KIND of the Upstate
Caroline went to The University of South Carolina and graduated from The Moore School of Business and received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management. After attending The University of South Carolina, she moved to Greenville, SC to further her education. She enrolled into a program called Arrythmia Technologies Institute whose objective is to train professionals in the fields of Cardiac Device Technology and Cardiac Electrophysiology. Caroline chose to focus on cardiac implantable electronic devices including pacemakers, defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy devices and implantable loop recorders during her time there and ultimately landed her first job in Athens, GA as a Cardiac Device Specialist. After getting engaged to her now husband, she moved back to Greenville, SC to work for Greenville Health System, now Prisma Health, as a Cardiac Device Specialist. After almost 5 years with Greenville Health, she left and joined St. Jude Medical, now Abbott, as a PRN employee to allow for more flexibility. Caroline and her husband, Kent, have three boys, Tripp, Row and Gray. Caroline’s second son, was born with a rare genetic disorder called KIF11 which caused multiple medical diagnoses including blindness. Row is an incredible young boy who loves to do all the same things any other young boy enjoys doing. Row’s big brother Tripp and younger brother Gray, look past Row’s blindness and see him as just Row their brother. Row does not let his blindness define him and he has no limits!
Francie Todd, Co-founder of KIND of the Upstate
Francie went to Auburn University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. After attending Auburn, she moved to Atlanta and worked at Emory University Hospital in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for four years. Afterwards, she attended the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta where she graduated with a Masters in Nursing Anesthesia. Shortly after, she met her husband, Hall Todd, and they moved to Greenville, South Carolina.
Francie and her husband have twin boys, Hall and Barrett. They are fraternal twins and were born in March of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID global pandemic. Hall received a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome and spent almost 8 weeks in the NICU while recovering from multiple surgeries. While Francie and her husband were shocked to learn their son had Down syndrome at birth, they quickly began shifting gears and decided from an early point that they would do everything in their powers to provide Hall with all early interventions, therapies, specialty doctors, and any tools/resources he might need along the way.
Francie and her steadfast friend, Caroline, realized education and learning resources regarding children with disabilities was lacking in the school system. They both knew they could help make a difference in the lives of not only their own children, but also many children in their communities. After lengthy discussions, they founded KIND.
KIND stands for kids including and nurturing disabilities. KIND strives to do just that by fostering relationships with all kinds of friends, those with disabilities and those without, because inclusion is important for all individuals. Through education, fun, and games, Francie and Caroline have found that they can break down the walls of exclusion and show children and parents that we are all more alike than different.
Francie believes that everyone is worthy and everyone should be seen and honored regardless of ability. Because everyone belongs. Everyone deserves kindness and everyone deserves to be told “I’m so happy you’re here.”
We Need Your Help
KIND of the Upstate is a registered South Carolina 501(c)(3) non profit organization. 100% of your donation goes towards our mission and is tax-deductible to the extent of the law.