Editor’s note: Due to confidentiality issues, last names are not used in this story.

 It's been a rough nine months for Nichole, to say the least. Her mother developed cancer. She's lived in three homes. She improved her grades. She continues to learn how to manage her ADD/ADHD. And, through all of it, she learned to cope by learning how to sew and giving away her creations as gifts.
Nichole, 17, learned of her mother's cancer in April. She had been experiencing stomach problems and going through the process of figuring out what was wrong. After a CT scan, the doctor called and said she needed to come into the office — and to bring a friend. What they thought was originally ovarian cancer, was officially diagnosed in May as stage four, aggressive, widespread neuroendocrine tumor originating in the appendix.
“I felt awful, horrible,” said Nichole. “I just wanted to crawl in a hole.”
Shortly after learning the diagnosis, Nichole and her mother moved in with Beth, a family friend who now serves as Nichole's temporary legal guardian.
To deal with her feelings, Nichole drew and colored, listened to music and tried “not to think about it too hard.”
She also completed service projects, volunteered at the library and Mennonite Central Committee's work room, walked downtown, and spent time with Sandy Banman, a Prairie View community support worker who has met with Nichole each week for nearly 18 months.
It was Banman who asked Nichole if she would like to make a pillow last Christmas. With scrap fabric and a sewing machine brought from home, Banman taught Nichole the basics of sewing which resulted in a pillow for her drama teacher.
Then while Banman was attending the MCC sale in April, she bought a bag of scrap flannel, thinking she and Nichole could make a project from it.
It was just a week or two later when Nichole found out her mom had cancer. She and Banman immediately began looking for a blanket pattern. The blanket, made from individual blocks and using donated batting from Studio Q, was a present for her mom. In the middle block, Nichole used fabric paint to write a special message to her mom, who uses the quilt every day in bed.
Nichole has completed two other projects since then: a reversible bag for her sister who lives out of state and a quilt for her youngest sister. Both will be given away this Christmas.
Although it's been a rough year for Nichole to get through - “I love my life but sometimes I just want to lay in bed and sleep” - she uses the coping skills learned at Prairie View, gets out and “takes on the world like I should.”
Banman has noticed a lot of emotional growth in Nichole, from overcoming anxiety issues, to expressing herself better, to becoming more confident.
“When Nichole moved in with Beth, it was a very nurturing situation that helped assure Nichole that she's not going to be alone,”  Banman said.
“I'm committed to raising her if that's what I need to do,” said Beth. “I'll be a mentor and to just absolutely let her know that she's not alone and we're all going through it.”