Foundation House Staff Spotlight: Dan Schmader, CADC, MHRT/C
Dan Schmader is the Programming Director at Foundation House, an extended care recovery program for young men, ages 17-35, located in Portland, Maine. He has been a member of the Foundation House team for over 4 years. In his role, Dan puts together a comprehensive experiential program for residents, ranging from athletics and adventure to holistic practices and the arts. Through his clinical training as a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor and experience as an alumnus of the program, Dan utilizes a broad skillset to elevate the Foxhole.
What was the highlight of your stay as a resident?
I learned what it meant to be vulnerable with other men and what it meant to be a part of a community. I had been on sports teams my entire life, but none that operated on a core belief of empathy and openness. No team, before this one, championed vulnerability. It is a family, albeit a strange one, where I was able to reconnect to the person I was before addiction and mental illness.
What inspired you to stay and pursue a therapeutic role?
As a resident, as you progress in the program, you begin to feel the joy and gratitude that comes with helping the newest guy. When my stay came to a close, I wasn’t ready to give that feeling up. It is deeply rewarding to be out on the trail or in the music studio with residents, watching them find themselves, connect with one another and enjoy sobriety.
What are you most proud of in your time at the Foxhole?
The expansion of our program to include the Foxhole Ranch in Bethel, Maine, and the creation of the curriculum to follow has been the greatest accomplishment in my time here. Having a refuge at the edge of the White Mountains and minutes away from Sunday River Ski Resort gives our residents a unique ability to connect to nature and takes experiential therapy to the next level. Using this space for bi-weekly trips with our residents has significantly enhanced the experience.
What are your plans for the future at FH?
I am currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work to assist in providing the traditional therapies that are essential to our residents. We have top clinicians here who are trained and experienced in working with a wide range of mental health struggles and co-occurring disorders. My intrinsic desire to help others, coupled with the passion of my colleagues, has made me want to expand my role with the clinical team.
What does the ‘Foxhole’ mean to you?
The Foxhole isn’t just a slogan or tag line that we use to market the program. It is the belief that all of the people associated with Foundation House – residents, staff, alumni, and families of clients – are in this battle against addiction, mental illness, and isolation together. It is a term that empowers the vulnerability, adventure, hope, and friendship that recovery brings to our program. I can’t imagine being where I am now without the Foxhole.
About Foundation House:
Since its inception in 2002, Foundation House has been a pioneer in the fields of substance abuse and mental health treatment. A program dedicated to the long-term success of its residents, Foundation House consistently offers progressive clinical care in place of tired treatment methods, favoring an approach that empowers its residents and removes the impediments of institutionalization. Throughout the Foundation House program, residents are offered a dynamic selection of therapies and activities, including outdoor adventure, intramural sports leagues, educational tutoring, service missions, money management, acupuncture, surfing, reiki, yoga, cooking lessons, alumni engagement, painting classes, professional music studio time and international expeditions. For more information regarding Foundation House or the above press release, visit www.foundationhouse.com or call 207-791-2000.