Who We Are

OUR HISTORY

In 2004, several families came together to form an organization that would be devoted to providing opportunities for youth with disabilities as they transitioned into adulthood. Our volunteer effort resulted in the formation of BRIDGE for Hudson Youth, Inc., now known as BRIDGE For Community Life, Inc. We are served by a robust volunteer base of community members, and high school and university students. Our BRIDGE clients live in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties in Wisconsin and Washington County in Minnesota. We offer programs and services year-round and have recruited and developed a first rate staff to work with our clients. Our focus remains creating opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities in lifelong learning, work, and leisure opportunities.

OUR STAFF

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Peg Gagnon

Executive Director
peg@bridgecl.org

Peg is the managing director of BRIDGE For Community Life. She is responsible for the overall operation and performance of the organization and, along with ten other parents and friends of youth with disabilities, co-founded BRIDGE in 2004. Outside of BRIDGE, Peg enjoys spending time with family and friends, boating, traveling, and reading.

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Jesse Stickler

Program Director
jesse@bridgecl.org

Since 2008, Jesse has been responsible for the operational systems, processes, and policies for BRIDGE adult programs. Jesse brings extensive work experience in supporting individuals with disabilities in their homes and the community both in western Wisconsin and the metro area. Jesse enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

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Ginny Ballantine

Administrative and Marketing Director
info@bridgecl.org

Ginny was a founding board member in 2004 and has continued to provide administrative, membership, volunteer, marketing, and fundraising support to BRIDGE. In addition, she has developed and implemented the innovative BRIDGE Campus Life program on the UW-River Falls campus. Ginny lives for mountain views, river trips, and braving the cold to snowshoe.

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Linda Redding

Program and Transportation Coordinator
linda@bridgecl.org

Linda was a BRIDGE board member and an Early Childhood T.A. for the Hudson School District before starting her current role at BRIDGE in 2010. She develops curriculum for the Day Programs, coordinates extracurricular opportunities, and prepares bus routes and schedules. Linda is a passionate Wisconsin Badgers fan who loves travel and time with family.

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Kristin Beckman

HR & Program Supervisor
kristin@bridgecl.org

Kristin joined BRIDGE as a program assistant in 2012 and soon after became a Program Supervisor. Kristin also serves as BRIDGE’s staffing coordinator and CPR/First Aid Instructor, and she provides assistance in all things technical around the office. Kristin played piano for 8 years and enjoys taking her Lab-Australian Cattle Dog mix, Lacy, on hikes.

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Casey Bland

Building and Fleet Maintenance Coordinator
casey@bridgecl.org

Casey has been with BRIDGE since 2013, organizing, implementing, and supporting clients in daily activities, providing transportation and medical cares, and making sure the gears of the program are greased and turning smoothly. Casey now serves as Building and Fleet Maintenance Coordinator. She has lived abroad, is a mother of two, and she enjoys bow hunting, fishing, and everything outdoors.

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Ellie Ballantine

Communications & Volunteer Coordinator
elspeth@bridgecl.org

Initially a volunteer with BRIDGE, Ellie became Campus Life Coordinator in 2015 and now also serves as Communications & Volunteer Coordinator. She brings campus experiences to BRIDGE clients, connects the community to BRIDGE volunteer opportunities, and coordinates all things media and marketing. Hiking, baking, and traveling overseas are some of her favorite things.

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Geena Troester

Lead Program Assistant

Geena started at BRIDGE in November 2015, after learning about us at Walk On Therapeutic Riding in River Falls. She now serves as one of BRIDGE’s Lead Program Assistants and is positive, energetic, and committed to making sure the clients get the most out of their days. She loves camping, fishing, and playing with her dog Nala, not to mention shopping at Target.

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Glenda Moen

Lead Program Assistant

Glenda has had a long-time connection with BRIDGE. As an Education Assistant at Hudson High School, she was familiar with BRIDGE programs, but got a wild hair and pursued becoming a pastry chef. In 2016, she was looking for a more fulfilling role and became a Program Assistant, now serving as the Lead Program Assistant for River Falls clients. Glenda loves spending time with her granddaughters and volunteering in the community.

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Jenny Ackatz

Senior Employment Coordinator
jenny@bridgecl.org

Jenny brings her passion for serving people with disabilities to her role as Senior Employment Coordinator at BRIDGE. She has over 8 years of experience as an educator to individuals with disabilities and holds a close connection to Special Olympics through her son’s participation. Jenny enjoys reading, biking, gardening, and spending time with family.

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Dena Ducharme

Employment Coordinator
dena@bridgecl.org

Dena started working as a BRIDGE Program Assistant in 2017 after graduating from UW-River Falls. In 2018 she transitioned to the position of Employment Coordinator, serving individuals with disabilities seeking employment in the community. Dena spends her free time running and hiking outdoors, cooking new recipes, traveling with family, and volunteering in her community.

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Cheri Weiss

Financial Specialist

With extensive banking experience, Cheri has been BRIDGE’s financial specialist since 2013. She works closely with Peg on the Board of Director’s monthly reporting and assists with the preparation of the annual budget. When she’s not crunching numbers, Cheri keeps busy with house projects, antique shopping, travel, and her pets, Sasha, Phoenix, and Ellie Mae. 

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