About Raw Potential


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 August 2013, YouthCARE Canberra engaged the services of St John’s Care Reid as part of the outreach program making YouthCARE Canberra one of the most flexible service providers for youth in the Canberra region.

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. 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.


What we do

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.


St John’s Care Partnership

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 August 2013, we engaged the services of St John’s Care (SJC) Reid at their busy Emergency Relief Centre to house and supervises our Outreach workers. SJC targets those people experiencing homelessness, vulnerability and disadvantage. 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.
SJC is funded primarily through donations from community and church groups, businesses and individuals and is proudly staffed by both volunteers and professionals who are committed to the flexibility required to meet the individual needs of clients.
The number of individual clients SJC assisted last year totalled 1502. As most are families with children it is estimated some 4500 people were helped over the year.
The Director of SJC 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 SJC and the Outreach workers are invited to attend each monthly YCC Board meeting and present a structured report of the previous month’s activities and outcomes.




Chief Justice Terence Higgins AO



Raw Potential Canberra would not be able to operate without the generous commitment of its board members. It is governed by a diverse and skills-based volunteer Board, who are all committed to the welfare of vulnerable children.


Paul Kane/ Chair

John Miller / Deputy Chair

Wayne Sharwood/ Secretary

David Lin (Financial Consultant)

Justine Redwin

Shelley Miller


Our Outreach Workers

Outreach Workers: Gabrielle Penn & Nicolle Applewhite

St Johns Care CEO: Sarah Murdoch


Corporate Partners

Synergy Group

In 2016, we entered into a 3 year plus 2-year option with local, high growth services firm who wanted to give something back to the community. The Synergy Group have been generous on multiple levels, with their staff undertaking specific fundraising activities, supporting events, providing office and administrative support. This has been a wonderful and productive relationship for both parties and we are pleased to advise that Synergy have recently agreed to extend the contract by a further 3 years. This will underpin our continued financial viability.


The Snow Foundation

The Snow Foundation has been continuously supporting YCC for over 20 years and we cherish the relationship we have with this wonderful local charity.
McGrath Group
Maxwell & Co/Canberra Conveyancing
Mt Majura Winery

Friends of Raw Potential

Georgina Byron(representing the Snow Foundation)
Niree Creed
Peter Crowley
Frank van de Loo
John McIntyre
Mount Majura Winery
Emmanuel Notaras
Steven Power
Adrian & Sharon Rumore
Pamela Slocum, OAM
Jan-Marie Stewart

Mutual Brokers
Cockington Green
Creations Jewellers
Kundalini Hair
Rize Design
Phase 4 Electrical
Anti-Chaos Solutions
Psqd advisory

Upcoming Events