Our story began with one family, one calling, and one special kid.
Carrie Goodwin was working as a nurse in an outpatient facility and saw children with special needs turned away when their families could not pay. They were told, "You get what you pay for, and that's the real world." Not long after Carrie's father, Dick Kleinau, came to his wife with a vision, "Angie, I want to do something for the LORD." Carrie's passion and Dick's vision came together when Carrie came home from work crying and Dick’s simply replied, “Honey, let’s do something about it.”
The pieces of the puzzle began to come together for the Kleinau family. Carrie had seen the need, Dick had felt the LORD’s calling, and their whole family had been touched by one special kid-Cody.
Cody was Dick’s grandson and Carrie’s nephew who had been born a few years earlier with the degenerative disease known to as Louis–Bar syndrome. The final puzzle piece for Special Kids was already in their lives- “Cody may need a place like that someday,” Dick said.
Together, Carrie and Dick envisioned a place where special needs and medically fragile children would be embraced with Christian love and healing arms, regardless of ability to pay. And most importantly, they agreed it wasn't their ministry, but Jesus Christ's. "It's going to be Christ-centered. It's going to be for God," Dick said.
Dick and The Christy Houston Foundation in Rutherford County put forth the funds that enabled Special Kids to build a facility in Murfreesboro, TN, and open our doors debt free. On September 5, 1998 with the support of the community and volunteers, Special Kids, Inc. opened its doors to the children.