Priscilla Steinmetz has had a passion for serving young people since she was in her teens. A graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, her background in the for-profit and non-profit sectors can best be described as a blend of youth work, business development, and organizational advancement. Over the last three decades, she has poured into the lives of thousands of teens in both the Chicago and St. Louis areas.
Priscilla and her husband conceptualized and founded The Bridge Teen Center after seeing a growing need in the suburbs for a safe and positive environment where students in the community can be accepted, supported, and encouraged. Since opening the doors in June of 2010, thousands of teens have benefited from The Bridge’s FREE holistic afterschool programming. Today, the organization stands as a national trend-setter in the realm of teen afterschool programming.
Priscilla's reach goes far beyond the walls of The Bridge. In addition to being a sought after speaker with adult groups, she also regularly delivers energetic and passionate messages in junior highs, high schools and colleges on the subjects of social entrepreneurship, bullying, breaking down barriers, and student’s futures. Priscilla also serves as a Life Coach for the highly-successful Carl Sandburg High School Varsity Cheerleading team.
Priscilla's extensive experience in youth work has also been featured in print, as the only female contributor to a book entitled If I Knew Then What I Know Now. The book serves as a guide for new youth workers, and was published by Youth Specialties and Zondervan in 2009. Dovetailing on this work, Priscilla continues to serve as as featured presenter at conferences and gatherings of youth workers, teachers, and school administrators on a regular basis.
In recognition of the innovative programs provided by The Bridge Teen Center, Priscilla was named an Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance in 2011. She was the sole representative from the State of Illinois, and one of just 20 selected from across the country. In that role, Priscilla spoke to representatives on Capitol Hill about the importance of afterschool programs in the United States. Priscilla remains an Ambassador Emeritus for the organization.
Some of Priscilla's other awards and achievements include:
- Development & Training Business Champion, Moraine Valley Community College (2013)
- John Maxwell Leadership Award Finalist (2014, 2015, 2019)
- Outstanding Achievement for Anti-Bullying Campaign, US Conference of Mayors (2015)
- Richard Scofield Leadership Award, Illinois Afterschool Network (2015)
- Women's History Month 2020 Visionary, ABC-7 Chicago (2020)
Priscilla has a great mid-range shot on the basketball court, loves to garden and cook, and is Martha Stewart’s biggest fan.