Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Stain-busting guide to the rescue in the ‘nick’ of time

OurMake it and Mend it Stain Guide (a free e-book, written by the Guardian's Stephanie Zia, for everyone who joins our main website) was the source of a solution to what could have been a very tricky problem... in a young offenders’ prison.

One of our subscribers was working at the prison, running a workshop with a number of the young inmates, all expected to maintain best behaviour in order to keep the privilege of attending these workshops.

Part of the session involved using pastel crayons. All was calm and fine until ‘the problem’ was noticed. One young man had used his bright red pastel crayon in a less constructive fashion and inscribed an unrepeatable piece of graffiti onto the face of one of the blue hessian-covered chairs in the meeting room.

In prison terms, this is a punishable offence. Keen not see the boy’s previous good behaviour go to waste our subscriber quickly ran a mental checklist through the Stephanie Zia Easy No-nonsense Stain Guide she’d just downloaded and read.

With nothing to hand (prisons only allow you minimal belongings when you work on the inside), our heroine knew the only way to keep this young teenager out of more trouble was to find a way of getting him to solve the problem himself. She had it! She needed washing-up liquid to remove the offending words and in the absence of that, hand-wash from the ladies' toilets.

Back with a plastic cup full of the stuff, the lad set to work, literally with his bare hands, scrubbing offence off the surface of the chair until, after 15 minutes, it was completely gone! Apparently our boy was brimming with pride at his achievement and relieved he would not be going on report.

And one of the most satisfying things, apart from us all learning how to clean pastel crayon off hessian, was that the Stain Guide let someone learn what are the consequences of thoughtless graffiti : someone has to find a way of cleaning it off.
>> Get our Free Stain Guide now

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