• Gabe Penn, Team Leader, Raw Potential

A passion for working with young people

Hi everyone, my name is Gabrielle, but please call me Gabe! I’ve just joined Raw Potential as the Team Leader. I’m excited about the raw potential of the young people we’re working with, and I’m excited about our raw potential as supporters – there’s lots to do, and such a need.

Over many years of working with amazing groups of people in the community, I’ve learnt that everything worthwhile in life is born of relationship – and that’s what we’re here to do at Raw Potential.

Young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, don’t or can’t experience the joy of living life to its fullest extent. Life is hard when you’re young with few supports. If we can gently build relationship and trust, only then can we support our young people towards making choices that lead to them realising their own strength, resilience and untapped potential – their own raw potential.

In the late ‘80’s I arrived in Canberra as a 17 year old, fresh-faced and ready to study at the ANU School of Music. I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t from here. Life was challenging. Halfway through, I abandoned my degree and dream. I set about working out the “what’s next?” of life. It was a big “what’s next?” and took a few twists and turns along the way.

I eventually became a traditional sign writer, self-employed with paint and brushes, shopfronts, banners and occasional gold leaf work. But in the early days, while an apprentice, I took a second job and began working with people who needed palliative care and later with people with a disability and mental health issues.

I’d loved the colour and creativity of signwriting, but also valued the experiences and people I was interacting with. My easy going humour was an asset, and I got a real buzz out of seeing people smile!

After a serious brush with death and some major surgery, I realised that it was relationships which were important in my life. I decided to invest my time and my heart where my treasure was; in people. Since that time I’ve worked with hundreds of at risk young people in the ACT and NSW and those with a history of trauma, disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds just finding their way in addition to those in the end stages of life. All of them have been beautiful people, and all of it has been an incredible privilege and journey!

Raw Potential is a robust, lifestyle enhancing catalyst for change and growth, and with our support, our most vulnerable young people will re-start the journey to realising their own raw potential.

Gabrielle Penn

RAW POTENTIAL Canberra | 6248 7771

St John’s Care is the service provider for Raw Potential.

St John's Care Items Requested: shampoo, conditioner, peanut butter and milk.


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