Black History Month Spotlight: Barb’s Family Learning Group 

As we celebrate Black History Month, we shine the spotlight on people that positively impact the City of Erie. Today, we feature Mary Euell, owner of Barb’s Family Learning Group, whose passion for child development and growth is matched by her enthusiasm and belief in the positive transformation of Erie, PA.  

Mary Euell was born and raised on the east side of Erie. She has an associate degree in Human Services and Social Services and is attending Edinboro University (Penn West) working towards a bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Early Education. She presently runs an in-home daycare, Barb’s Childcare Center, and is poised to open a new brick and mortar location in the plaza on W. 18th between Peach and Sassafras Streets in April 2024. 

Mary says, “We strive to provide excellent curriculum, experiential learning, and healthy food options. We provide a safe, loving, and structured environment with a dedicated team to care for the children that attend our facility.” 

Mary comes from a family that is no stranger to serving others and the community. Her mom, the namesake of her business, was a secretary in the chemistry department at Edinboro University for 20 years until retirement. Mary shared that her father was the pastor of Faith Temple Church of God and Christ. “They were big on education, community, people, and church. I come from a family that is always serving, my uncle Larry Meredith, who just passed away; my aunt Carol Troop, who was a teacher at Pfeiffer Burleigh and had her principal certification; my uncle, who retired from the State police; and I have other family members that are doctors, lawyers, and nurses. My sister was on the school board for eight years. I come from a family that is willing to serve.” 

Through a partnership with the Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Mary is helping with their goal of creating a social hub in the plaza on W. 18th St. which includes the Crime Victim Center, Erie DAWN, and soon Barb’s Childcare Center. Across the street, residents will find PA Career Link. To create this new location, Mary learned that help is available. “I learned what true partnership and collaboration is. The process taught me to ask for help for which I’ve been appreciative. I had help from the City of Erie and received a Flagship micro-grant and coaching through the Paramount Pursuits Thrive in Erie business incubator, which the City of Erie helps fund. I’ve had help from Chris Groner, City of Erie Economic Development Specialist and Tina Mengine from the Erie County Redevelopment Authority who helped with a micro-loan to do some things in the building and purchase a van. And I had help from the Chamber which is how I gained the partnership. It’s really been collaborative and having support from the City reassured me that it’s ok for me to ask for help which has been great.” 

Mary says while it’s just her and one other employee right now, she plans to have eight to 10 employees in the new location and is accepting applications. Those interested can visit to apply.  

She says what motivates her is education. “Everyone deserves a fair chance at learning and education in an environment that supports them for growth. Whether it is 1st or 2nd grade or pre-K, I want them to succeed. I also often help educate parents about other resources that are available for their children, whether it is a speech class or an IEP (Individual Education Program), I want them to be prepared and aware.” 

Mary says that Erie is well-suited for business. “Erie is perfectly positioned to meet the diversity of investor criteria and needs that enable investing with confidence in our region. With downtown Erie seeing over $500,000,000 in recent investments (new buildings, museums, food halls, apartments, and infrastructure), expansive community amenities including our amazing Bayfront, and a strong, diverse economy that is rich in opportunity, Erie County is primed for investment, helping business owners and the best networking city.” 

What does Black History Month mean to her? “It is a time to reflect on the people and events that have helped shape African American history and culture and to recognize the importance of the diverse voices that contribute to our society. A time to uphold the values of inclusion, respect, and understanding for all.”  

Mary offers this advice to others thinking of starting a business. “The journey you start today has a lot of opportunities and lots of risks, but as long as you keep faith in yourself, nothing can stop you from going ahead…and never be afraid to ask for help.” 

Learn more about Black History Month:

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