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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Autumn Blalock, Community Outreach Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Summer/Fall 2020

Autumn Blalock smiling headshotAutumn Blalock was a Community Outreach Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Summer and Fall of 2020. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Blalock has always believed that where inequity creates limits, art creates answers. She truly fell in love with the words of Anne Bogart, who said that “Limits are a necessary partner in… the crafting of a successful life.” These words turned the world she always saw as a closed box into a steppingstone to opportunity. Autumn comes from a low-income background with a big family that endured not only financial limits, but the limits that physical and intellectual disabilities placed on herself and members of her family, especially her father. Watching and helping him throughout her life brought to Blalock’s attention the need to advocate for better representation of all creeds, colors, and abilities.

Blalock is a Maryland native. In the Spring of 2020 she graduated from Albright College with a combined Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Theatre, and she looks forward to being the Student Commencement Speaker at the Class of 2020 graduation ceremony in December.

In the Fall of 2020 Blalock will begin her studies for a Masters in Theater and a certificate of Non-Profit Management at Villanova University. Blalock’s research combines the fields of health psychology and Brechtian theatre to investigate how performing arts can impact the health behaviors of young adults. She desires to continue researching the ways that theatre can be used to encourage a higher quality of life for others, especially in low-income communities.

Blalock is passionate about community service and enjoys finding creative ways to contribute to the lives of people around her. She was recognized by Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellowship for her community activism in 2019 and is laying the groundwork for a nonprofit of her own, which she hopes to own and operate after finishing her Masters’ degree. The nonprofit, Storm Foundation for the Arts, where people of all ages will find opportunities to overcome personal limitations through visual and dramatic arts. She also hopes to run several community service programs from this non-profit, including housing seminars, educational programming, and more.  Blalock’s most passionate causes are health and education equity. Her search to find meaningful work that will let her advocate for those causes led her to RespectAbility. She is excited and honored to be a part of this cohort.


RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact [email protected] for more information.



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Autumn Blalock
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