Beginning in 2009, the Center for Family Involvement funds staff to act as specialist and cultural brokers. The differences between the two are explained below.

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.

Specialists for the….

Aging Family Community – Norma Draper Email:

Norma Draper

Blind/Visually Impaired and Deafblind Community – Dawn Peifer Snow Email:

Dawn Peifer

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Community – Irene Schmalz Email:

Irene Schmalz

Mental Health Community – Patrice Beard Email:

Patrice Beard

Rural Community – Lisa Richard Email:

Lisa Richard

Cultural Brokers
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.

Cultural Brokers for the…

African American Community – Mauretta Copeland Email:

Mauretta Copeland

Asian Community – Angela West Email:

Angela West

Arabic and Refugee Communities – Amel Ibrahim Email:

Amel Ibrahim

Immigrant and Latinx Communities – Edgar Gamba Email:

Edgar Gamba
Edgar Gamba

Download our Cultural Broker Flyer: Cultural Broker Initiative

Download our Spanish language brochure:


700 East Franklin Street
P.O. Box 843020
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3020
HELPLINE: (877) 567-1122
FAX: (804) 828-0042
TTY RELAY: (800) 828-1120


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