Cultural Broker Initiative

Since 2009, the Center for Family Involvement has included staff acting as specialists and cultural brokers. The differences between the two are explained below.


Aging Deaf & HOH Blind Mental Health Icon


Specialists are a specific resource to families calling the Family to Family Network of Virginia for 1:1 emotional, informational and systems navigational support who represent that disability or a special community (e.g., deaf, mental health, rural, military).

Any parent can contact a Specialist directly (see contact information below). Specialists also recruit Family Navigators from across the state (not just from their home region) to support them and the F2F Network. To apply to become a Family Navigator, click the back button and click on APPLY NOW button at the top of the Family to Family Network page.


tNormal Draper, Elderhood and Aging Families Specialists

Norma Draper:

Dawn Peifer  - BlindVision Impaired Specialist

Dawn Peifer Snow:

Irene Schmalz - Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist

Irene Schmalz - Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist

Patrice Beard - Mental Health/Data Integration Specialist

Patrice Beard:

Click here to meet Patrice

Lisa Richard - Regional Coordinator - Rural Outreach Specialist

Lisa Richard:

Click here to meet Lisa


Cultural Brokers


Refugee African American Latinx 1 on1 support

Cultural Brokers are specific to immigrant, refugee and/or racial/ethnically diverse populations. The primary role of Cultural Brokers is outreach to organizations and groups in Virginia (and country) with whom the CFI (and the Partnership for People with Disabilities) should partner with to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families with children with disabilities. And, to represent the CFI on local, state, and national committees. Cultural Brokers take phone calls from diverse parents seeking support and support Local F2F Network Coordinators with recruiting culturally and linguistically diverse Family Navigators for their own region. To apply to become a culturally diverse Family Navigator, click the back button and click on APPLY NOW button at the bottom of the Family to Family Network page.


Amel Ibrahim - Cultural Broker-Refugee Communities

Amel Ibrahim:

Mauretta Copeland - Cultural Broker - African American Community

Mauretta Copeland:

Meet Mauretta

Edgar Gamba - Cultural Broker - LatinX Communities

Edgar Gamba:

Meet Edgar

Download our Cultural Broker Flyer: View

The gap between theory and practice article - View

The promising practice of cultural brokering support article - view