Laois Comhairle na nÓg members
It was a minute's silence for a different reason at the May meeting of Laois County Council, when teen politicians got the councillors practicing some mindfulness techniques.
Laois Comhairle na nÓg members Cian McGearailt, Grace O'Brien, Anna Lee Dowling and Chloe Delaney visited council chambers to give a presentation on their work over the past year.
To show the positive effects of how mindfulness can change lifestyles, they got the councillors, the CEO John Mulholland, and management to all stand up and close their eyes, and sit when they thought a minute had passed. The first councillor sat after 20 seconds.
The group conducted another “experiment” on the council where they asked them again close their eyes and imagine getting the news that their jobs were lost, and in time not being able to make mortgage payments and becoming homeless, with children hoping to start college.
They then asked for a show of hands for those who knew where to turn to for help.
“We did this as a Comhairle and not one young person knew where to turn,” said Chloe.
The young group are elected representatives from schools and clubs throughout Laois, to be a voice for young people.
As part of their work on homelessness, Laois Comhairle intend to distribute leaflets to schools with information on what to do if students become homeless, in conjunction with PATH the Portlaoise homelessness support group.
Comhairle has also this year given its opinions on a range of local issues, such as the Portlaoise hospital crisis, the national mental health strategy, sucide strategy, Laois PPN, and Portlaoise Publie realm.
Their biggest project underway is called 'Life in your Pocket' - a phone App for students. It is designed to help teens and features videos by experts on stress, mindfulness, study and cooking. It will be launched at their AGM in autumn. See Laois Comhairle na nOg on facebook.