Greetings friends & supporters. I’m the founder of 3 Bluebirds Farm and my husband, Colm, and I are parents to three great children -- our “3 bluebirds” (ah-ha!). Marcus, our middle child, is 18 years old and was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of three.
When Marcus was younger, he made it very clear to us that his favorite place to be was outside with his two dogs. He could easily spend an entire day outside, swinging or jumping on the trampoline, while his dogs watched on, guarding over him. We knew then that a conventional facility where most activities take place indoors and that doesn't allow animals simply wouldn't provide Marcus with a happy place. So that's where the seed of an idea started growing into a nonprofit farm that provides inclusive farm activities for individuals with autism.
Then, as Marcus aged, our family was faced with an extremely difficult decision into place 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.
As for my background and qualifications, I graduated from Wake Forest University (’97) with a double major in Philosophy & Psychology, fully intending on getting my PhD and becoming a college professor.... And as luck would have it, that never happened. Instead, I stumbled into marketing & fundraising fresh out of college as "just a job" 26 years ago. Since then I have worked in the field of development & marketing with many various organizations -- from public television, to private schools, to private hospitals. I have coordinated major fundraising initiatives, planned enormous special events, and have designed and implemented operating budgets and million dollar capital campaigns.
So I bring with me work experience, life experience, and loads of passion due to living life with severe autism in the family. Autism adds an element of something indescribable to the family dynamics. It definitely presents challenges, but it has given me an incredible amount of strength, a strong sense of humor, a greater tolerance for all humankind, and an ability to fight for what is right in life.
With much gratitude,
Erin J. O'Loughlin
Our staff members are the backbone of 3 Bluebirds Farm,
see that our mission becomes a reality, and basically make us who we are today.