Employee Spotlight – Daniel Vanwaus, Substuance Use Disorder Counselor
Daniel Vanwaus lends to Heartland House a skillset honed over decades of work in service professions. Born in Iowa, Daniel left the Midwest at age 17 and eventually landed in San Diego in 1997. In his first twenty years here, Daniel worked in hotel, restaurant and apartment management and in fundraising for non-profit entities.
Daniel also found sobriety in San Diego, over four years ago. Daniel says that in recovery he is inspired to be of service in the most meaningful way that he has ever encountered: helping others who with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
Daniel’s rapid progress in recovery, zeal for service and professional background landed him his first job in sobriety assisting McAlister Institute, where he was a SUD Counselor and the Housing Coordinator for the organization, helping find living arrangements for individuals who had recently completed treatment programs there. Daniel says that during this time he became familiar with Heartland House through on-the-job interactions and that two men that he sponsors in recovery had “turned their lives in a beautiful direction” at Heartland House.
Daniel kept in contact with Heartland House over the next two and a half years and when the opportunity presented itself, he joined our team as a SUD Counselor in late 2020. When asked if he is happy with his decision, Daniel says that he continues to be deeply impressed with the quality of person-centered care at Heartland House, characterized by flexible treatment programs to address the unique needs of each client, and he strives to give his assigned clients that high level of individualized attention.
Daniel’s energetic approach to service has also spurred him to seek higher education and qualifications in the healthcare field. He has completed the San Diego City College certification in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS) and is waiting to take the examination to become fully certified as a SUD Counselor. Daniel currently plans to complete his undergraduate work at San Diego State University and then seek a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.
Heartland House is pleased to have an individual who is as committed to helping others as Daniel Vanwaus. We look forward to seeing Daniel continue on his path of service and education.