Meet Erin O’Loughlin

Erin O’Loughlin

founder, 3 Bluebirds Farm nonprofit

During COVID-19, (we) turned our recreational Camp Bluebird into a virtual learning center for our clients. Our clients were in need, so we changed our services.

An Introduction: I’m the founder of 3 Bluebirds Farm, and my husband, Colm and I are parents to three really great children, our “3 Bluebirds.” Marcus, our middle bluebird,” is 16 years old and was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 3.

Autism is the most common developmental disability, affecting 1 in 54 births. Parents of children with autism are not offered many viable options for their children once they age out of the school system and conventional developmental disability services for adults may not always provide the best assistance.

Our family made the extremely difficult decision in July 2015 of placing Marcus in assisted living, due to his severe and dangerous aggression. He has adjusted relatively well, but our bumpy and bittersweet journey has made certain matters even more crystal clear: Our nation as a whole is not doing enough for our adults with special needs.

The seed of an idea began to sprout in the back of my mind — a planned residential farm community for adults with autism, along with track-out programs, summer programs, and respite care for children and adults with autism.

Inspiration: The amazing team that I work with – without them I couldn’t keep moving forward. Also, the families who have been with us for so many years, encouraging us to keep going, because our services are helping their families – that’s the most rewarding thing I could ask for.

A Proud Moment: When we closed on 28 acres of beautiful farmland, after nine extremely challenging years of working and fundraising for the perfect piece of property in Wake County — our vision and dream.

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