Wodonga's Mikaela Reid, now 21, was no ordinary child.
At just eight she became a carer for her two brothers, sister and father.
Every morning before she went to school, Miss Reid ensured her siblings, who have attention deficit disorder and mental health conditions, had taken their medication, were dressed and had their lunches.
She would also assist her father, who has various physical and mental health issues, shower and take his medication.
Miss Reid said helping around the house, particularly while her mother was at work, became the norm.
She said being a young carer was rewarding, but also made it hard to relate to other children.
"I missed out on a lot of things like going out with friends," she said.
"And there were lots of time when my homework wasn't in when it was due.
"Most of the time I don't talk about it to most of peers because they won't understand.
"I bottled up my emotions because my mum sometimes did not have time for me because she was so busy looking after everyone."
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Now, Miss Reid is determined to help others by becoming a mentor to other young carers through the same Villa Maria program that assisted her as a child.
"Being part of the carer program really helped me have some time to myself," she said.
"I got to attend different events, trips and camps, and had time to talk to people about my situation and being around other young carers going through similar things.
"I want to help other young people going through what I went through.
"All young carers need someone look up to and listen and understand what they're going through."
Villa Maria program coordinator Marion Rak said young carers often experience social isolation, depression or drop out of school which is why the mentor's impact was 'immeasurable'.
"Volunteer mentors act as special friends for the young carers; giving them respite," she said.
The program is currently seeking ten new mentors.
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