News & Events

Laughter in the Limelight Act II

A comedic view of life as told by local news personalities and local officials.

When: Wednesday, March 21st

Where: Jr’s Last Laugh Comedy Club

The show begins at 7:00 pm Kitchen opens at 5:30 pm

Tickets: $20.00 at the door. Tickets can also be bought at our office or at The Mental Health Association of NW PA‘s office.

Proceeds to benefit NAMI of Erie  &  The Mental Health Association of NW PA.


This year’s news personalities and public officials include:

Dan Rupp, Meteorologist with Jet 24/Fox 66

Brenda Sanberg, Executive Director of Erie Western Port Authority

John Last, News Reporter with Erie News Now

Elena LaQuatra, Reporter with WJET/ Fox 66

John Buchna, Chief Executive Officer Erie Downtown Partnership

Pam Forsyth, General Manager of Lilly Broadcasting

Sean Lafferty, News Anchor with WJET/ Fox 66

Joe Schember, Mayor City of Erie

Lyell Cook, Erie County Coroner

Dean Pepicello, Harborcreek Township Supervisor and Voice of the Erie Otters, (Emcee for the show)

John Groh, Millcreek Township Supervisor (Event coordinator)

NAMI receives record donation from Erie Arts & Culture

NAMI of Erie County accepted a check for $2,100, a record donation from Erie Arts & Culture.

This grant supports the agency’s Exploring the Arts program that utilizes music therapy as a way to educate children and their families about mental health and wellness.

This year’s Exploring the Arts with NAMI will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Children will explore how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness. The event is open to the public and Early Connections will have over 60 students in attendance. This year, Exploring the Arts with NAMI will feature local musician Lori Burke, who has written music for Sesame Street.

Support for Exploring the Arts with NAMI is provided in part from a Project Grant from Erie Arts & Culture.


Annual ‘Fat Tuesday’ Fundraiser for NAMI of Erie County

NAMI of Erie County will host a kickoff party for their Sixth Annual Fabulous Golf Outing on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. The event will take place at The Brewerie at Union Station, which is located at 123 West 14th Street, starting at 5 p.m.

TEAM Fabulous Golf Committee members will guest bartend and donate their tips to NAMI, while live music plays courtesy of Dixieland Jazz ensemble the Dixie Doodlers. This family-friendly event aims to raise awareness about mental illness in the Erie community as well as officially launch NAMI’s annual golf outing planning process.

This year’s outing, which is scheduled for June 22, 2018, at Venango Valley Inn and Golf Course, promises to deliver a fabulous experience through BBQ, beer, and boas.

To find out more information about NAMI or to register for the Sixth Annual Fabulous Golf Outing, visit our website at

Spring sessions of NAMI’s programs return

NAMI of Erie County’s programs are unique because they are peer-led by trained volunteers. These programs bring empathy, support, and education to individuals searching for hope. NAMI of Erie County is hosting two programs this spring, Family-to-Family, a family education program, and Peer-to-Peer, a recovery education and workforce development program.

Family-to-Family is a free, 12-week educational course for family members and caregivers who have a loved one facing mental health challenges. The program will start this spring on March 1st. Many graduates say their experience in the program is “life-changing.”


Peer-to-Peer is a free, 10-week educational program for adults with mental illness, who are looking to better understand mental wellness and their journey toward recovery. This spring’s session will begin on March 7th. Participants will learn communication skills, a general understanding of mental health, and workforce development skills.

No formal diagnosis is required to attend either program. Programs will be held at the NAMI of Erie County Office, 1611 Peach Street, suite 218. Registration is required, and participants must be at least 18 years of age. Please call the NAMI office at (814) 456-1773, or visit to apply today!

NAMI Support Group Updates

NAMI of Erie County will be changing the meeting dates and time of our support groups starting in the new year.  Our Family Support Group will continue to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month, but they will now meet from 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Our Peer Support Group will now be meeting on the first and third Monday of each month from 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. Both support groups will meet at the NAMI of Erie County office, located at 1611 Peach Street, Suite 218, and are led by volunteers who have completed their respective NAMI program.  No registration or formal diagnosis is required to attend. If you have any questions, please call the office at (814) 456-1773.

NAMI Receives Grant from The Erie Women’s Fund

Recently, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County accepted a check for $2,000 from The Erie Women’s Fund (EWF).  This mini-grant supports  NAMI’s Exploring the Arts program which utilizes music therapy as a way to educate children and their families about mental health and wellness.  Janet Peters, EWF Grants Chairperson (left), presents the funds to Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, NAMI of Erie County Executive Director (right) during the awards presentation. Janet says, “Mental illness does not discriminate; it can impact anyone regardless of a person’s age, gender, income, social status, ethnicity, spirituality or any other cultural identity. Together, EWF and NAMI are working to end the stigma associated with mental illness.”

The Erie Women’s Fund recently celebrated 10 years of helping women and families in the community. The EWF, a donor advised fund of The Erie Community Foundation, has a mission of empowering women and families. They have given dozens of grants, hosted many educational events, and are continuously looking for new ways to improve the community.  NAMI of Erie County is honored to receive this mini-grant and thanks The Erie Women’s Fund for their support.

NAMI Support Groups will Resume in January

NAMI of Erie County offers year-round support groups for individuals and families facing the challenges of mental illness. These support groups provide a free, confidential setting to share stories, find hope, and discover new resources. No formal diagnosis is required to attend either support group.

The next Peer Support Group will be meeting on Sunday, December 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the NAMI office. Our Family Support Group will not be meeting during December due to prior commitments. Please join us after the start of the new year. Details on meeting days and times can be found on our website:

Holiday Cookie & Soup Mix Sale

NAMI of Erie County’s popular cookie and soup mix jars are back for the holiday season! This year’s sale features three cookie flavors: double chocolate peppermint cookies, Santa’s extreme cookies, and pumpkin cranberry bread. As well as two soup options: potato soup and minestrone soup. There are also three unique hot chocolate flavors: peanut butter, white chocolate, and peppermint. Cookie and soup mix jars are $5 and hot chocolate cones are $2, and they are now available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit NAMI’s free Family-to-Family Program.

This year, we are offering three easy ways to place your order: online via this link, over the phone, or stopping by the office. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for you to call in or stop by.

First Steps at NAMI of Erie County

One of a parent’s greatest joys is when a child takes their first steps.
That moment symbolizes so manythings – the next stage of growth, the satisfaction of reaching a goal, the promise of new opportunities. First steps are truly the wonder of life and that’s why we embrace them at NAMI of Erie County, both for our clients as well as for our organization.

Every day at NAMI, we are privileged to work with individuals and families who are struggling with the challenges of mental illness. Our mission is to help them take those first steps toward understanding their illness and defining a new path for their journey. That path is different for everyone, but when you walk with resources and inspiration from those who care, you can pass through a gateway to all of life’s possibilities.

For NAMI of Erie County, several “first steps” in 2017 evoked a sense of both accomplishment and expectation:

  • With the help of Erie Insurance, we initiated our new NAMI Basic s program for families taking their first steps in managing and advocating for adolescents with mental health challenges.
  • We expanded our Exploring the Arts with NAMI program at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum to offer more children and families their first steps into art and music.
  • We planned our first fundraiser for the new year, an entire evening of first steps at the NAMI in the 90s Dance Party, set for April 14, 2018 at Rainbow Gardens.
  • We held our first-ever, golf-less golf tournament when rainstorms kept us off the greens at Venango Valley Inn and Golf Course, but the community “stepped up” to help us meet our fundraising goal.
  • And most visibly, we took the first steps to move the NAMI offices to the second floor of 1611 Peach Street, a new space three times larger than our former suite and able to accommodate our expanding programs and client base.
At NAMI, we believe that you cannot see the path that lies ahead until you take those first steps. And when you take the first steps, you direct the energy of your mind, heart, and body in that direction. That’s what we do for our clients, free of charge, every day. And that is why your awareness of our programs and your support – whether financial or in-kind – is so critical.
During this time of giving, please consider a donation to NAMI of Erie County to support our free programs and services. As always, 100 percent of your contribution will remain in Erie County to help individuals and families facing mental health challenges in our community. Donations can be made payable to NAMI of Erie County and mailed to 1611 Peach Street, Suite 218, Erie, PA 16501. Additionally, you can donate online by visiting

NAMI Earns Another Prestigious Award

Last night, NAMI was awarded our second consecutive Gold Niagara Award. The 2017 Community Report entitled “First Steps” was recognized for its marketing excellence.

Accepting the award was Denise L. Kolivoski, NAMI of Erie County Executive Director (left), Steve Krivonak, Executive Assistant (middle), and Heather Christensen, Events Coordinator (right) during the awards ceremony.