New Chemical Health Case Manager at Vinland


April Van Isgehem is a new Chemical Health Case Manager at Vinland National Center.

April has a degree in community psychology and chemical dependency from St. Cloud State University. She is a Licensed Alcohol Dependency Counselor or LADC.

April said she is applying to get a masters degree to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or LPCC and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor at St. Cloud State.

April has been working at Vinland since August 2015.

Before working as a full time Chemical Health Case Manager, April was an on-call case manager and helped with intake work in Vinland’s admissions department.

As a Chemical Health Case Manager, April is responsible for insuring clients have the right treatment plans to create hope and wellness for the next steps in their lives while at Vinland.

“I love seeing clients reach milestones and watch them grow,” April said. “It’s great when you see their enthusiasm and achieve their goals.”

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Ready to Make Some Tracks?

Vinland Center is excited to announce its seventh annual Winter Walkabout, which will be Saturday, Feb. 27.



“This is a fun opportunity for our supporters to get outside in the winter and see the beautiful property at Vinland’s main campus on Lake Independence,” said Mary Roehl, Vinland’s executive director. “The music, bonfire, and hot food really make this a festive event!”

Last year, more than 175 people attended the event. Through the support of snowshoers and sponsors, we raised more than $42,000!

The Winter Walkabout is open to people of all fitness and experience levels. People who have never been snowshoeing can attend the Winter Walkabout and have a great time snowshoeing. There is a very short learning curve with snowshoeing. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! Just check out our staff gearing up to snowshoe in this video.

In addition to the snowshoe walk, activities will include:

  • Raffle drawings for great prizes
  • 50/50 cash pot raffle drawing
  • Heads & Tails game
  • Kids’ activities

All proceeds from the Winter Walkabout benefit Vinland Center.


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Measuring Brain Speed in Recovery


Brain speed. It’s one of the seven parameters used to assess Vinland clients’ health.

But how can you measure brain speed exactly?

It simply takes a pegboard, timer, and some numbers.

Vinland Fitness and Wellness Manager Jeff Willert administers the Purdue Pegboard test for clients twice while they are at Vinland’s residential campus in Loretto.

“We use it for fine motor and gross motor skills as well as measuring clients’ cognitive speed and mental acuity,” Willert said.

For the past six years, Vinland has been administering the test with the Purdue Pegboard as a way to do more objective measurements of clients’ brain speed and hand-eye dexterity.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response of improved speed and seen huge changes between the pre and post tests,” Willert said. “I think once clients’ brains clear from getting physical exercise, eating healthier, and sleep-which all happen here-their brain acuity gets better.”


Willert calls it the “clouds lifting” referring to the cognitive cloudiness that many clients have when they come to Vinland.

“The test works both sides of the brain and the brain is more involved,” Willert said. “We love to see the improvement from when we first give them the test to the second time before they leave.”

Clients can practice the pegboard throughout their time at Vinland, but many only do it the two times required.

“Most clients do more cardio or more physical work rather than work at the pegboard,” Willert said. “Many clients find the board very challenging.”

Clients are also asked to look at a paper with the numbers 1 through 100 and circle each number as fast as they can while timed. This is also administered as a test when clients first arrive and right before they leave. The numbers test looks only at brain speed, Willert said. But there is remarkable progress made with that as well.

According to Willert’s study on the seven parameters measuring clients’ health at Vinland, all clients brain speed increased by 14 percent.


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Vinland Employees Take on New Roles

Vinland National Center continues to work hard on behalf of its clients and helping new clients who walk through the doors each day. Every staff member at Vinland has a special and important role in helping Vinland fulfill its mission everyday.

Here are a few employees who have taken on new roles in the Vinland community. We are so glad to have them continuing to work diligently for our clients!

Monica Monserud


Monica has worked at Vinland  for the past six years as a Health Service Technician (HST). She recently became a new Intake Associate in the admissions department.

As an intake associate, Monica provides support and helps with paperwork for incoming or potential clients and additional support for the admission process at Vinland.

Previously, as an HST, Monica assisted in the care and support of clients, which included helping administer medications and helping clients in day-to-day activities.

Now, she works on helping admit clients to the residential campus in Loretto, which can also include giving new clients tours of the facility when they first arrive.

“I like working here; it’s always a new adventure,” Monica said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Landon Harris


Landon has worked at Vinland for more than two years as a Health Service Technician (HST). He was recently promoted to be in charge of operations for the two Living Works Lodges, Vinland’s sober housing, in Crystal.

Landon oversees logistical work, maintenance, and support for the two independent living homes. Each home contains 12 clients dealing with various disabilities living in recovery from substance abuse who need minimal amounts of support to remain independent.

“One day I’ll need to set up the purchase, delivery and work needed to get a new washer and dryer while another day I’ll be setting up and working to get a new security system,” Landon said.

Previously, as an HST, Landon assisted in the care and support of clients, which included helping administer medications and helping clients in day-to-day activities. He started out working part-time at the main campus in Loretto and was later hired full-time.

Even in his new role, Landon continues to help clients as needed and interacts with them everyday, which he enjoys.

Before coming to Vinland, Landon went to Bemidji State University and received a degree in sports management. The management part has become an integral part of his work at Vinland.

“It’s always something different going on that makes the day exciting,” Landon said of working at Vinland. “Also, the independence here as employees is nice.”

MaryLynn StricklandDSC_0057

MaryLnn has worked at Vinland for more than five months in the IT department.

Recently, MaryLynn has been hired on full time as an IT Administrative Associate. As an IT Administrative Associate, she helps Vinland staff troubleshoot and fix computer and technical issues as needed.

Previously, MaryLynn has worked freelance in creative and technical computer work in a variety of settings including website development and sales.

“I like that I get to interact with all staff,” she said. “It’s nice to get to know people when I help them.”

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New Nurse Hired at Vinland


Andrew Lake, LPN, comes to Vinland from a long career in education.

Andrew has been working at Vinland National Center’s residential facility in Loretto, Minn. for over two months.

Previously, he worked as a special education teacher for 20 years. He then decided to go into nursing as a private duty nurse, which he still does part-time.

As an LPN at Vinland, Andrew monitors and regulates medications for clients and makes medical, dental and therapy appointments for clients outside the facility.

As one of several nurses on staff, Andrew also helps with overseeing best practices with staff that includes offering flu shots at certain times of the year.

Andrew enjoys being at Vinland.

“It’s different everyday,” Andrew said. “One day it can be quiet and the next day you can be running around.”

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Donate Your Winter Clothes

Stay Warm

Do you have gently worn winter clothing that you no longer use? Donate those items to Vinland! We are looking for coats, sweater, hats, gloves, and scarves for our clients.

For more information and to donate, click here.

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Familiar Face Returns to Vinland in New Role


If Don Raasch looks familiar, it’s because he’s not new to Vinland National Center.

Don first came to Vinland as a chemical health intern in early 2015. But he has since returned as a new Chemical Health Case Manager.

From January to May 2015 Don was an intern at Vinland’s residential chemical health program. Don hopes to complete his thesis on co-occurring disorders and earn his degree from Adler Graduate School of Psychology. Once he graduates he will become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC).

Don learned about Vinland when he met Vinland Program Services Manager Tom Beckers at an internship fair.

“It seemed like the place to be, and it was different than the rest,” Don said in his intern interview.

As a Chemical Health Case Manager, Don said he is responsible for client group sessions and providing content for these sessions. He is also responsible for insuring clients have the right treatment plans to create hope and wellness for the next steps in their lives.

Don’s background before coming to Vinland was not in social work or mental health work. He took an early retirement after working 22 years at Best Buy and spent six years after that being a “house dad,” taking care of his three children at home while going to graduate school.

But Don is glad to be back at Vinland and working with familiar faces.

“I love the culture Vinland offers its employees,” Don said. “I love the empowerment we get from management. I have the ability to be authentic with clients and use the methodologies I liked from my graduate work and put them to work for clients.”

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