Youth Wraparound Support Partner | TRI-COUNTY


Darrin is a Portland native. He was born and raised on the Northside and is the son of Guatemalan immigrants. Growing up, he witnessed his parents doing the best they could to work and provide for their family without legal documentation. He is one of eight siblings but grew up with his parents and two younger sisters. 

As a child, Darrin was very shy and anxious. He always felt like he couldn't do anything right and at times did things that he didn't like just to make others happy. He had a hard time finding himself and talking about his insecurities with others. However, Darrin was very artistic and found an outlet in drawing and creating art. Art has always served as a way for Darrin to express himself and escape the troubles in his life. 

Darrin grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood where a lot of his friends and family fell victim to the streets. He managed to stay out of gangs, but trouble still seemed to follow him wherever he went. As a teen, Darrin was often disrespectful and disobedient, and he made some childish mistakes that ultimately resulted in his expulsion from High School. This happened right around the same time his father was deported, and his struggling mother made the tough decision to send him to a military school. 

Although Darrin did very well in boot camp, it did not take long for him to fall back into the same risky behaviors like skipping school, disobeying his mother, and doing things that put his life in jeopardy. Without a positive male role model and after seeing his mother struggle, his anxiety started to take over, and he fell into a deep depression. To numb unwanted feelings, Darrin would drink, smoke, and party recklessly. After a while, the numbness took over, and Darrin turned to self-harm to feel something and as a cry for help. 

Finding help was difficult because Darrin was skeptical about therapy and taking medication. What helped him were his close friends and becoming a father. He had to take a look in the mirror and ask himself who he was, who he wanted to be, and what he wanted in life. He eventually found a way to forgive himself and make amends with those he hurt and those who hurt him. He started to better himself not only for his sake but for his children. 

Since then, he has found the help he needed to point himself in the right direction. Instead of medications, Darrin finds peace when exploring nature, working out and listening to loud music. When he can't talk to a therapist, Darrin confides in people he knows will listen and uses canvases to pour his feelings into art. When he feels down, he’ll watch a good film or check out the work of other creative people. When he feels hopeless and unmotivated, he thinks of all the amazing people he’s met along the way, the things he hasn't experienced, and most importantly he thinks about his two little humans who look up to him no matter what. 

Darrin hopes to use his experiences and skills to help youth cope and overcome the obstacles they face, and he is determined to make sure that youth realize that they are not alone.