Many of the kids we work with learned to put their needs last. They are what the clinical world calls "parentified" meaning they had to take care of themselves, their siblings, or sometimes even their parents. As early as 2 and 3 years old, they had the responsibility of figuring out what they were going to eat, and how best to survive any given day.
They never got the chance to be a kid.
This trauma carries through to adulthood. Their whole nervous system was built on survival and a sense of duty to care for those around them. Caring for themselves and making healthy choices simply isn't a priority when all they have known is ensuring others are well. Mentorship with a healthy adult builds resiliency in youth who have suffered this kind of trauma. An hour a week that is carved out just for them, focused just on their needs giving space for their unique talents to blossom. Mentorship shows them they matter and that they should have never had to worry about meeting their family's needs.