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Santiago Jaramillo

#PowerTo Advocate for My Community

A third-generation resident of Denver’s Westwood neighborhood, Santiago Jaramillo co-founded D3 Arts more than a decade ago. As D3’s co-director, Santi works to blend the cultural roots of the neighborhood with his passion for art and sobriety. These are his words:

“Growing up, I got in a lot of trouble. For a good part of my life, I was heavily into drugs and alcohol and some of the gang stuff around here. With the gift of sobriety, I want to make living amends, giving back and righting some of those wrongs. For me, that’s taking my passion for sobriety and my love for art and connecting with others who are suffering or carrying that stigma around.

Right now, we have a 12-step meeting every Monday at a skate park – it’s amazing, I’m a skater so I love it. We also have a partnership with Life-Line Colorado doing community murals and we’re doing talking circles with some halfway houses.

It’s so important to be able to say to the young people around here, ‘Hey, we have the same story and the same background. If you can see that I’m the same as you, then maybe you can see that you don’t have to keep going in that same cycle of trauma or alcoholism or whatever it is.’

I want them to know that I’m from here, I care about you, and want to teach you and share with you what we’ve learned to help transform your life.”

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