Erin Balcom was born in Oneonta, NY. The day after she was born, she was transported to Albany Hospital for emergency surgery. She was born with Spina Bifida. She believes it is important to continue to bring awareness to people with developmental disabilities, so everyone is heard. Being the Self-Advocacy Group Vice President at Delarc has given her a platform to help make a difference.
Being in a wheelchair has made it more challenging to move around in some areas of her community because of the lack of wheelchair-accessible ramps, including local coffee shops and the gym. When she is faced with this situation, it is a reminder to her of her incapacities. Whenever she sees an opportunity, Erin advocates for wheelchair-accessible entrances. This makes it easier for people to move around and makes people feel seen and contributes to a more inclusive community.
Erin also has a huge heart for others. During a recent self-advocacy meeting, Erin suggested that money raised from an upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day fundraiser be donated to Anielle Mcewan-Lomnicki, also known by her nickname “AK”. AK is a 14-year-old from Sidney, NY who was recently struck by a drunk driver when she was walking home from school.
When Erin is not advocating for herself and others, she enjoys spending time at home with her parents and older sister. She shared that her role models are her parents, as well as Rachel and Tammi, Life Coaches at the Hamden Delarc location.
This Developmental Disability Awareness Month, take a moment and consider what you can do to help move us towards a more accessible and inclusive community. Join Erin in her advocacy efforts and help make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.