To empower disadvantaged youth by providing non-judgemental support and opportunities for a bright future. To help break the cycle of poverty and set our clients on a course that allows them to realise their raw potential and worth.
In 1986, Honourable Chief Justice Terence Higgins AO, then a practicing Canberra barrister, recognised a gap in the social support services available to the Canberra region’s most vulnerable “at risk” youth.
Chief Justice Higgins and a small group of like-minded supporters established a Canberra chapter of Open Family; a Melbourne based charity founded by Fr Bob Maquire. The charity was named Open Family (ACT) and its goal was clear: to offer the “at risk” youth of the Canberra region a future. The committee soon expanded and identified a need to remain solely focused on that goal, so in 2010, Supporting Canberra Street Kids Limited was established which began trading as YouthCARE Canberra.
A high demand for services presented an opportunity for the organisation to expand the services provided and better cater to the needs of “at risk” youth. In 2019, the charity decided to change its name to better reflect the essence of its work. Many kids that it supports have had a raw deal in life and are emotionally raw from their experiences. Yet they have so much potential and just need someone to believe and support them to release it.
Most recently in May 2021, Raw Potential Youth engaged the services of Women Community Service (WCS) as part of the outreach program making Raw Potential one of the most flexible service providers for youth in the Canberra region.
Since 1986 through to the present, the organisation has adopted a unique and pro-active Outreach Program to improve the well-being and self-worth of the Canberra region’s alienated and excluded street youth.
The support services offered are immediate, non-judgmental and focused on providing an opportunity for “at risk” youth to positively change their lives by connecting them with specialist services, for example legal advice, healthcare, rehabilitation, counselling, housing, education, employment and financial assistance. We also assist them with communication such as writing applications and resumes, and work to establish a solid relationship and improved self esteem through various social outings.
The work our Outreach Workers perform is varied and often involves multiple strategies and interventions. The chart demonstrates the need and importance of positive role modeling and creating opportunities such as rock climbing to help kids engage and see their potential. It also demonstrates that there is no quick fix as solutions are multifaceted and require considerable lengths of time to bring to a satisfactory conclusion.
During FY18 we were involved with some 480 young people, the majority of which were existing clients and about 11% were new.
The high demand for our flexible, non-judgmental services presented an opportunity for our organisation to expand the scope of its services to better cater to the needs of “at risk” youth. In May 2021, we engaged the services of Woden Community Service (WCS) to deliver outreach support for at-risk and vulnerable youth across the Canberra region. They provide emergency assistance in the form of food, fresh fruit and vegetables. They also provide clothing, prescription filling, bus fares, blankets and a limited amount of financial help to meet the basic requirements of daily life.
The Director of WCS is responsible for the supervision of Raw Potentials’s outreach workers and ensuring they are productive, effective and safe in their endeavours to help disadvantaged youth in our community. The Director of WCS and the Outreach workers are invited to attend each monthly Raw Potential Board meeting and present a structured report of the previous month’s activities and outcomes.
Paul Kane / Chair
John Miller / Deputy Chair
Wayne Sharwood / Secretary
David Lin / Financial Consultant
Shelley Miller / Board Director
Barry Sandison / Board Director
Natalie Miller / Board Director
Georgina Byron(representing the Snow Foundation)
Frank van de Loo
Mount Majura Winery
Adrian & Sharon Rumore
Pamela Slocum, OAM
Phase 4 Electrical