Support Groups

Cross Roads Deaf Club

The Cross Roads Deaf Club (CRDC) is a group dedicated to creating awareness and promoting empowerment of the Deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened and deafblind individuals. CRDC strives to provide opportunities for socialization, education, leadership and community partnership through various activities such as continuing education and community service projects. Of primary importance is preserving the Deaf languages and cultures.

CRDC works toward development of members through club meetings, project workshops, sign language classes, Deaf events, networking events and fundraising activities.

The Cross Roads Deaf Club ventured out in a unique way. A group of Deaf and Deafblind individuals learned to scuba dive on November 2nd, 2013. They traveled from St. Joseph, MO to Independence, MO to learn from scuba diving instructor, Jeff Dunlap, Skin N Scuba.

Click here to watch the video.

Video Source:  KQTV, St. Joseph, MO

People First Self Advocacy Group

MERIL hosts the St. Joseph and Maryville chapters of the People First self-advocacy group for persons with a developmental disability. We are a member of the State People First of Missouri that promotes equality for people with disabilities so they can live the life they want in the community.

Our local chapter:

  • Shares information from around the state
  • Provides training that will educate a person to become a stronger self-advocate
  • Participates in community projects
  • Pays dues to the statewide chapter
  • Communicates and respects the issues of all members
  • Empowers all people to understand their rights and responsibilities, speak up for themselves (self-advocacy), as well as advocate for one another (including advocacy at the systems level and within the community)

Our core values are:

  • All people can feel good about themselves and their abilities. (Pride)
  • All people have equal rights. (Equality)
  • All people deserve opportunities to live productive and happy lives. (Opportunity)
  • All people should have choices about their services/supports. (Power to Choose)
  • People with disabilities can be leaders for change. (Leadership)
  • People with disabilities can educate others about their ability and right to belong. (Educate)
  • All people are entitled to freedom. (Freedom)
  • All people have the right to be part of their communities. (Inclusive Communities)
  • All people deserve respect. (Respect)
  • All people deserve to live their own lives. (Self-determination)
  • All people should be responsible for their own actions. (Taking Responsibility)

If you take the first letter of each word in parenthesis you will see the core value is “People First.”

People First of St. Joseph meets the second Thursday of each month at 3:00 pm at MERIL in St. Joseph, 4420 S. 40th Street.

People First of Maryville meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at MERIL in Maryville, 2416B South Main.

If you are interested in being a part of this group, either as a participant or to assist with the facilitation of the group, please contact us.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family Support Group

You are not alone. 1 in 4 families are touched by mental illness. Talk with family members who have been there in this peer-led group.

Meetings are held the third Monday of the month from 7:00p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at:

Wyatt Park Christian Church
2623 Mitchell Avenue
St. Joseph, MO 64507

Free! Sign-up is requested, but not required. For more information and to sign-up, e-mail

St. Joseph Down Syndrome Support Group

We represent local and area families from the St. Joseph community who have a member of the family with Down syndrome. Some of the goals we try to achieve with the support of the Kansas City Down Syndrome Guild are: provide support and resources, encourage active participation in the community, foster positive attitudes, and help individuals with Down syndrome reach their full potential.

For more information, contact Renee Sherman at 816-344-4045 or

Widowed Too Young Grief Support Group

Sponsored by Mosaic Life Care Hospice for those age 60 and under

The group will meet every other Monday (please contact Sr. Susan Holmes for specific dates) from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at:

Mosaic Life Care Business Plaza
137 N. Belt Hwy
St. Joseph, MO

For questions or to register, call Sr. Susan Holmes at 816.271.7190 or 816.261.5471.

  • bring a sack or fast food meal with you (optional)
  • enter at the main (center of bldg.) door
  • if you arrive late, call 816.261.5471 for admission
  • confidentiality is requested of each member of the group
  • no charge for attending