Meet the Staff

Diana Hulst, Executive Director

Diana earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with emphasis in Human Services Administration from Northern Illinois University. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology with emphasis in Criminology from NIU as well. Her over 20 years of experience includes program development and management, grant writing and foster care licensing. Throughout her career, Diana has worked with diverse populations in meeting the challenges of life.

As a foster parent and adoptive parent, Diana has a passion for youth encountering difficult life circumstances. A mission of hers is to help the community become more trauma informed; realizing that often the behaviors we see in youth are normal reactions to extraordinary situations. It is her belief that through collaboration and compassion, our community can help families break the generational cycle of trauma.

Fun fact: Diana is an avid do-it-yourself-er. She enjoys everything from home remodeling and furniture restoring to gardening and cooking. She even cuts her own hair (which may explain why she often wears it up).

Yuritzy Cruz, Finance and Office Manager

Yuritzy earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Robert Morris University of Illinois. She has experience in administration of youth sports programs and she also worked as an Office Assistant for two years. She has four years of involvement in customer service and likes facilitating any struggles one might have. She now finds herself as the Finance and Office Manager at YSB.

Yuritzy enjoys cooking for her family and loves spending time with her two dogs, Sugar and Cocoa. During her free time she likes to read novels and eat ice cream.

Fun fact: Yuritzy is fond of sewing, she loves taking the time of designing and making blankets!

J.J. Wett, Clinical Director

J.J. received his Master’s Degree in Applied Family and Child Studies with a Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy in May of 2012 from Northern Illinois University. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist licensed by the State of Illinois. Along with his licensure, he’s also a Clinically Certified Trauma Professional (CCTP). A CCTP understands the effects of trauma on the brain and knows proficient methods to treat the trauma.

J.J. was born with spinal muscular atrophy which was supposed to kill him by the age of two. However, he is 30+ years old and ready to bring his life and professional experience to you! He has overcome many obstacles in his life including receiving his Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northern Illinois University. While studying at Northern Illinois, he trained under several leading relationship therapists and now he is able to bring this knowledge into your life. J.J. also has 10+ years experience working with people in a social service setting. He has made it a priority to ensure people with disabilities receive the services needed to live a fulfilling life. In fact, he researched family dynamics relating to a child having a disability for his Master's thesis.

Fun Fact: J.J. is an encyclopedia when it comes to music and can generally “Name That Tune” within the first five chords of the song.

Javier Zepeda, Bilingual Youth & Family Therapist

Javier has earned his Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Northern Illinois University and is working towards his Professional Counselor License through the National Board for Certified Counselors. He is currently a member of the American Counseling Association.

Javier brings a school background experience that fits well with clients serviced at YSB. He has worked with students and families at Rochelle Township High School and Focus House during his practicum and internship. Javier considers himself a person- centered therapist that accepts, respects, and assists clients in their journey to change and development.

Fun Fact: Javier’s favorite place is his kitchen. He loves to cook when he has the time to do it. He likes to grow his own vegetables to make his own salsa and guacamole.

Shatoya Jackson- Alternative to Suspension, Diversion, and Early Risk Assessment Project

Shatoya is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. She is attending Aurora University for her Masters in Advanced Clinical Social Work.  She has experience in working in diverse environments, including two years working in domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as working with homeless youth.

Shatoya is fluent in Spanish and has great attention to detail. She has a great passion for youth and wants to help them find their path to fulfilling their potential.

Fun Fact: Taco Tuesday is everyday!

Lucero Martinez, Program Coordinator, Bilingual Youth and Family Therapist

Lucero is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling with a specialization in school counseling. She has experience working in the high school setting with students and helping them determine and establish goals for life after high school. During her internship at DeKalb High School, she realized working with adolescents and attending their mental health, was her true passion as a counselor.

Lucero identifies with Object Relations Theory, a theory that explains how individuals begin to form their identity at early stages in life, as early as infancy.

Majority of the time, it is the parents or caretakers that are the ones in charge for the overall well-being of infants, therefore, infants and children are influenced by the relationship they have with their caretakers. She believes that ultimately, the individual or child, begins to shape their identity and overall personality by how they view others, how they view themselves in relations to others, and their relationships overall.

Fun Fact: Lucero enjoys working out and taking group exercise classes. Her ultimate fitness goal is to become a Zumba instructor and help others lead an active lifestyle.

Jasmine Young, Program Coordinator/Youth and Family Therapist

Jasmine completed her Masters in Mental Health Counseling at Northern Illinois University, and is currently enrolled in the Doctoral program at NIU.  She completed two internships at YSB, and we were thrilled to have her come aboard!

  Jasmine has experience working with clients from diverse populations including: socioeconomic, gender, ethnicity and LGBTQ.  She has collaborated with other helping professionals in Child and Family Team Meetings for clients in DCFS care.  She has facilitated anger management groups, and currently coordinates our Early Intervention for Drug and Alcohol Program.

Fun Fact: Jasmine's office is a center of serenity.

Leslie Albion, Youth and Family Therapist

Leslie Albion, MA, NCC completed her master’s degree in clinical psychology at Cardinal Stritch university in Milwaukee, WI, and is currently working towards her Doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision at Northern Illinois University (NIU).

Leslie identifies with the person-centered approach in counseling; which views the individual as being an expert on themselves and their experiences and views the relationship or connection between the counselor and individual as one of the most important agents of change. Additionally, through reflection, the process of trusting oneself, and a counselor who listens without judgement, one can start the process of healing. Leslie has experience working with kids, adolescents, and college students who have struggled with depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, substance abuse concerns, and survivors of domestic violence/interpersonal violence and sexual assault, etc. She also currently teaches undergraduate counseling classes at NIU through her doctoral program assistantship.

Fun Fact: When she is not at work or school- Leslie enjoys being in nature, spending time with her dog and fiancé, exercising, and cooking.

Brooke Berg, LMSW,  Youth and Family Therapist

Brooke is a Licensed Master Social Worker who earned her graduate degree at the University of Iowa after completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University.  She enjoys working with individuals of all ages to help them reach their goals and improve their well-being.

Her previous experience includes school and office based therapy to help address issues related to depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, increasing self-esteem, and relationship issues.  She utilizes a family systems approach as well as CBT to help increase coping skills, identify patterns of behavior, and improve one’s quality of life.

Fun Fact: Brooke is a big Iowa State Cyclones fan! (Go State!)

Pagel Palmer, Crisis Coordinator/ Youth and Family Therapist

Page graduated from Northern Illinois University with his Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. He continued his academic career at Northern Illinois University. Page graduated with his Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program. He has experience working with youth, couples, and families. Page completed his internship here at DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau, where he’s worked with a variety of clients and their families.

Page identifies with Narrative Therapy, Bowen Family Systems. Within the future, Page wants to continue working with youth while also obtaining certification in Advanced Childhood Trauma, Play Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for adolescents.

Fun Fact: Page is a really good dancer!

Danielle Owens, Youth and Family Therapist

Danielle graduated from Northern Illinois University with her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services. She continued her academic journey at Northern Illinois University as a graduate student of the Counseling and Higher Education program. While pursuing her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Danielle has co-facilitated groups and provided resources to the DeKalb community. In addition, she is working to obtain certification in complex trauma.

Danielle identifies with Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), mindfulness, and narrative therapy. Danielle views individuals as the main character of their story; as they are working toward a goal. An example of this is “The Wizard of Oz.” Everyone is similar to Dorothy, a person on a journey to reach a goal. Counselors might be viewed as the Tin man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow. These are people that remind Dorothy that she has the tools to achieve her goal. Through this framework, individuals are able to identify thoughts that are beneficial to them and develop positive coping skills. Danielle believes individuals will gain a sense of self, learn coping skills and an understanding of their decision-making style.

Fun Fact: Basketball is her favorite sport #BallisLife

Have a great day!

Nicole Patterson, MFT Graduate Intern

Nicole graduated from Northern Illinois University with a dual Bachelors in Psychology and Sociology as well as a criminology certificate. She is currently a graduate student at Northern Illinois in the Marriage and Family Therapy program seeking to obtain her master's degree. She is expected to graduate in May of 2020. She has experience working with individuals, couples, and children of various ages. Nicole is currently an intern at DeKalb County Youth Service Bureau in order to continue building her experience with clients, especially children and adolescents. She is currently working as a Case Manager at the local homeless shelter here in DeKalb.

Nicole identifies heavily with Bowen Family Systems Theory and Attachment Theory while also implementing some structural techniques with her clients. Nicole tends to focus on helping individuals understand and process how their past and their family background may affect them presently in their life. Nicole believes that part of individual growth includes taking negative experiences/trauma, processing them, and then using those experiences to become more resilient as opposed to letting it hinder the individual. Nicole also views individuals as being in control of their own choices and reactions and wants to help individuals understand that they ultimately have control of their own behavior and have to take responsibility for how they choose to respond. It is her hope to one day open her own private practice as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as open a practice in Jamaica, where her family originates from. It is also her hope to become a certified sex therapist after she graduates.

Fun Fact: Nicole is Jamaican and LOVES music!

Onetha Hill, Graduate Intern

Onetha graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Family, Consumer, Nutritional Sciences. She is currently a graduate student at Aurora University in the Social Work program seeking to obtain her Master's Degree. Her expectant graduation date is May 2020. Onetha has experience working with youth ages 6 weeks-12 years old and their families. She is interning at YSB to gain experience with clients and older youth. Onetha has been a preschool teacher for over 15 years and is currently working at a local daycare center here in DeKalb.

Identifies with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Systems Theory. She focuses on learned behavior and how past relationships affect their current behaviors. In the future, Onetha wants to continue working with youth and their families. She wants to start a teen pregnancy program that helps teen parents access resources that they may need or may not know about.

Fun Fact: Onetha knows sign language (can hold conversation, not fluent) and travels every 2-3 months.

Abijah Castillo, Graduate Intern

Abijah graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. At this point in time, she is a graduate student at Aurora University in the Social Work Program pursuing a Masters degree. She is planning on graduating from the program in December of 2020. Currently, she is an intern at Dekalb County Youth Service Bureau for the purpose of gaining experience when working with youth.

She identifies with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Bowen Family Systems. Abijah believes that families act as a cohesive unit and when one part of that unit is not functioning effectively it can then affect other individuals in that family unit. She also places great emphasis on the importance of human relationships.

In the future, she would like to work as a social worker in correctional settings with both adolescents and adults. Later on, in life, she would also like to receive her Doctorates degree in Social Work so that she can be a professor and teach at a university.

Fun Fact: Abijah would choose a day of thrifting at second hand stores over shopping at the best malls!

DeAndre Jones, Graduate Intern

De’Andre completed his Bachelor’s degree in biology with a pre-biomedical emphasis at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, and is currently enrolled at Aurora University for a dual Master’s in Social Work and Public Administration. He seeks to gain experience working with youth, in addition to administrative duties.

De’Andre identifies heavily with Attachment Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. He believes that trauma sustained from childhood can manifest as undesirable behaviors later in life. De’Andre hopes to help individuals navigate these past instances, and promote growth of the individual.

In the future he hopes to open his own community action for at risk youth. De’Andre believes that the future of the nation lies in the hands of the children, so as adults, we must do everything possible to help them along their journey.

Fun Fact: De’Andre would love to run for Public Office one day.