Blalock grew up in southwest Virginia — the edge of Appalachia, he said — and has lived and worked on both coasts, focusing on disadvantaged children, teens and young adults.
He has degrees from four universities: James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va., where he received a bachelor’s in philosophy and English; Harvard, where he earned a master’s in theology; Columbia, where he obtained a second master’s in South Asian studies; and Stanford, where he received a law degree.
One of his first jobs, in 2000, was a teaching position at a high school in the Bronx, N.Y.. He was hired to teach English, he said, but the duties quickly piled up at the impoverished school as other teachers left. He led a Saturday science initiative and developed an after-school leadership program with an eclectic mix of studies, according to his résumé: literacy, public speaking, boxing and capoeira, a Brazilian style of martial arts.
“Loved it,” he said of the teaching job. “Would probably still be there, except they closed my school down.”
His next position was at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., where he developed curriculum for youth with HIV.
After attending Stanford Law School, Blalock began a legal career serving youth in Oakland, Calif., and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
He spent a decade at Bay Area Legal Aid, representing young people in the juvenile justice system, chronically homeless youth and kids with disabilities. He developed a program that worked to ensure youth in need were able get housing, Medicaid and other benefits. It also oversaw abuse and guardianship cases…