LEADS is a support group for individuals and families touched by an intellectual disability supported by the Arc of Erie. We have a special emphasis on Down Syndrome but please don’t let that stop you from checking us out! We welcome everyone! We are passionate and dedicated to encouraging the unlimited potential of children and adults with an intellectual disability throughout the Erie Area.

Throughout the year we offer family support meetings which are opportunities for families to meet others who have similar interests and are seeking peer support. At these meetings we relay community events of interests as well as discuss local resources for families touched by a disability. We often have guest speakers discussing topics of interest. These meetings not only serve as an outlet for support but are an important and powerful way to give back to other LEADS families by providing guidance from your own personal experiences. Our meetings begin in September and go through April. We do not meet in December due to the holidays.

January 28th @ Wayside Presbyterian Church 
Jack Hewitt, OVR: Programs Available for Job Readiness

February 25th @ Belle Valley Presbyterian Church
Casie Lucas, Speech Language Pathologist: Communication for children with Down syndrome and other special needs. 

March 25th @ Wayside Presbyterian Church    
Sheryl Sweeney, Advocate: The Arc’s Role and Advocacy

April 29th @ Belle Valley Presbyterian Church 
Wrap up Meeting 

All meetings take place on the last Saturday of the month from 10:00am-12:00pm. Childcare is provided at each meeting by Gannon University Special Education Committee!

Wayside Presbyterian Church Address: 1208 Asbury Rd. Erie, PA
Belle Valley Presbyterian Church Address: 1694 Norcross Rd. Erie, PA

For questions, please email:




The Family Support Group is a support group for family members, caregivers, loved ones of someone living with the everyday challenges of a mental illness. These sessions takes place in an intimate, confidential setting to allow families to share with each other their experiences. This type of group lets you know that you are not alone.   The support group for families meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the NAMI of Erie County office.

NAMI of Erie County, Professional Building, 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105, Erie, PA 16501

No registration is required. Please call the NAMI of Erie County office if you have any questions about the session at 814-456-1773 or email us at



One of NAMI’s cornerstone programs is Family-to-Family. The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program is a 12-week course for family members and caregivers of individuals with mental illnesses. The next Family-to-Family session will take place in the spring. Registration is required, you can register by calling the NAMI office at 814-456-1773 or online on the registration page. The course is taught by trained family members with the instruction and course materials offered FREE to class participants.  NAMI of Erie County, Professional Building, 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105, Erie, PA 16501 814-456-1773

The highly-structured Family-to-Family curriculum educates caregivers and family members about various mental illnesses, treatments and medications, and rehabilitation. Participants learn self-care, problem-solving skills, and communications skills, which can later be taught to the entire family unit. Many graduates of the program called it “life-changing” as they develop friendships with others in similar situations.