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Cultural Broker Program

Medieval Bridge

Cultural Brokers in Maryland

Cultural brokers are members of the communities that the Maryland Development Disabilities Council collaborates with. They play a role in fostering trust and establishing connections between community members and the services and support they need.

In 2023, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council awarded grants to three community organizations to support the Cultural Brokers in Maryland initiative. These grants are aimed at training and empowering cultural brokers within communities that face challenges in accessing information and resources compared to others. The goal is to enhance accessibility and reduce barriers for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families across Maryland.

Rachel London, the Executive Director of the Council, emphasized, "Maryland is one of the most diverse states in the country. We want all Marylanders with developmental disabilities and their families to have the same resources, opportunities, and support to advocate for themselves and live the lives they want. The Cultural Brokers in Maryland grants help make that happen."

Doreen Shing, in partnership with the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC), is spearheading a community-based support system for individuals with developmental disabilities associated with CCACC. The program aims to expand its reach to the Burmese immigrant community in Maryland. Led by multiple cultural brokers, this initiative will offer support to over 20 individuals with disabilities and their families in the Asian community. Kate Lu, Director of the CCACC Health Center, expressed, "One of CCACC’s missions is to serve as a bridge between underserved Asian American immigrant community members and resources and support. This cultural broker program fits into this mission. It will bring resources and hope to the disability community."

The Cultural Brokers in Maryland grant initiative is a part of the Council's state plan. Council members collaboratively formulated the goals for the grant and the request for proposals. They also evaluated and selected organizations that best aligned with the project's objectives. Kay Han, a Council member involved in reviewing proposals and implementing the project, highlighted, "The Cultural Brokers in Maryland grants empower communities who are underserved by many disability services in Maryland. These communities have been unable to access information and resources relating to developmental disabilities. This project is important to the Council because it raises awareness about how poverty, language barriers, and cultural differences can lead to differences in services."

 

This Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council project is fully supported by the Administration for Community Living as part of a total award of $1,265,982.

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