In 1960, Mary Roddenberry who was a long-time resident of Lea County recognized a need for meaningful activities for adults with developmental disabilities. She started the Lea Work Activity Center (LEAWAC) to provide individuals the opportunity to earn an income through various projects. The organization evolved through several name changes and in 1990 the organization became what was known as Lea Developmental Education Rehabilitation Services.
Leaders Industries known simply as "Leaders" was founded in 1970, as a community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. For the past 49 years, Leaders has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues faced by people with developmental disabilities. Leaders operates under the guidelines of the New Mexico Department of Health.