Dr. Frances Mills-Yerger
Founder of Workshops and Master Facilitator
Dr. Franny has been facilitating personal development workshops for adolescents, women and families for more than 41 years. She is the master facilitator and program director of Workshops for Youth and Families. At the core of the organization’s success is the volunteer peer leader program, which she developed over the years and for which she has received many accolades. Alumni from decades past still credit her and the program with changing their lives. Dr. Franny has a doctorate degree in marriage and family counseling and had her own private practice for more than 20 years. If it weren’t for her love and dedication to Workshop, its vision and the many families she has touched, she would be retired and fishing off the coast of Mexico at this very moment. Instead, she’s probably out buying pool noodles for the next workshop.
Hannah Brown, B.S.
Program Coordinator and Facilitator
Hannah Brown holds a Bachelors of Science in psychology, graduating Summa Cum Laude, and has eight weeks of acute training in Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Baily. Hannah has over 15 years of experience with children, teens, and families. She served as the Director of the children’s department at her home church for four years, owned and operated a highly sought after daycare for 10 years, facilitated trainings on Conscious Discipline for adults in her community, and has been actively involved in volunteer work for many organizations involving youth and families. Hannah first became involved in Workshops for Youth & Families in 1998 as a participant and was so inspired by her own personal growth that she served as a volunteer peer leader for four years. Although she took some time away after getting married and starting a family, her passion for mentoring youth did not keep her away too long. She came back to the program as Leadership Team in 2013, and has been serving as Program Coordinator/Facilitator since January of 2017. When Hannah is not at Workshops you will likely find her having fun with her husband and their three children, and enjoying their menagerie of animals and plants.
Laura Passmore, M, ED
Laura Passmore earned her undergraduate dual degree in Elementary Education K-8 and Special Education K-12, with an emphasis in Emotional Disabilities, and her Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Relations with an emphasis in gifted learners at Northern Arizona University. As a certified teacher, Laura has taught both special education and regular education in public and private schools over the past 21 years. In her role as a Behavior Specialist in a large school district for several years, she serves a diverse population containing students with various exceptionalities.
Elva Hull Blanks, Ph.D.
Elva Hull-Blanks is a licensed psychologist specializing in at risk behaviors in gifted adolescents and adults. She received her Master in Counseling in 1998 and Doctorate in Psychology in 2004. Elva has been involved with workshop for over 30 years, first as a participant, then peer leader, Vice President of the board of directors, and now as a parent and youth workshop facilitator. She is passionate about helping teens develop resiliency, leadership, character, and life skills and believes that all teens have the potential to positively impact their communities and schools.
Julie Skakoon, LPC
Julie Skakoon is a licensed professional counselor in private practice for children and adults. Julie specializes in forensically informed therapy. Her forensic work includes; therapeutic interventions, comprehensive custody evaluations, limited focused assessments, court ordered therapy, and parent coordinator services. Julie also specializes in divorce/co-parent counseling, family interventions, and play therapy. She has been involved with WYF for many years as a parent and youth workshop facilitator and supporter.
Diana Vigil, LPC, RPT
Parent Workshop Facilitator
Diana Vigil is a licensed professional counselor in private practice specializing in child forensic interviews, child maltreatment evaluations, intervention, and play therapy. Due to Diana’s vast amount of experience, she is frequently invited to present at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Arizona Bar Association, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and Arizona Superior Court Judicial College. She is also published in law and forensic psychology. Diana’s involvement with WYF goes back to her days the Board of Directors and transitioned into facilitating parent workshops.
Niraja Patel, D.O.
Parent Workshop Facilitator
Niraja Patel’s psychiatric career kicked off after she graduated from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2000. By 2005, she had completed her psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. Niraja is a board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. She is one WYF’s many supporters and leads the parent workshops.