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In this episode I had a moving and powerful conversation with four members of the Parkland community who were impacted by the school shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School on February 14, 2018. In this conversation MSD students - Danielle Gilbert and Danny Tabares, Adult Chair of March for Our Lives Parkland - Samantha Novick, and community organizer and respected meditation teacher Shelly Tygielski courageously share their experiences of that day and the road to healing that they have been on since. This is one of the most hopeful and inspirational conversations that has taken place on this show (and that I have ever witnessed). I hope you enjoy.

**This show contains content that some may find to be upsetting, disturbing, or triggering. Please listen at your own discretion. Thank you.**

In this episode we explore:

  • Their experiences of Valentine’s Day 2018

  • Insights about transforming pain into purpose

  • Staying hopeful when times get tough

  • How they have found the courage to be compassionate, and to love after experiencing hate

  • The importance of listening, and healthy debate

  • What they’ve learned about creating conditions that promote healing

  • Why little acts of kindness are so important

  • And much more.

Background on guests:

Danielle Gilbert, Student

Danielle Gilbert is currently a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School in Parkland, Florida. She has lived in Parkland for her entire life. She was located in one of the classrooms that was shot into on February 14, 2018. She will be attending University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida in the Fall of 2019. She was awarded a gold cord for maintaining a high GPA and a silver cord for having over 250 service hours. She was a teammate on her high school volleyball team for all four years.

 Daniel ("Danny") Tabares, Student

Daniel Tabares is an 18-year old Sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School. Danny was a Freshman during the tragic events of February 14, 2018 and experienced, like many others, trauma but he managed to turn that pain into purpose. Originally from Honduras and also part Colombian, Danny has overcome many challenges in his life prior to shooting and has channeled that strength to focus on helping others. He spends a lot of his time volunteering in the organizations that were formed to commemorate and honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting; organizations such as Change the Ref, Make Our Schools Safe and Orange Ribbons for Jaime. Because of his own circumstances, Danny adores helping individuals with special needs and all minority groups.

 Samantha Novick, Adult Chair of March for Our Lives Parkland, MSD Alumnus

 Samantha Novick was the Adult Chairperson for March For Our Lives - Parkland which took place on March 24, 2018, a little over a month after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School, her alma mater. Sam's mother, Sharon Cutler, is a teacher at Stoneman Douglas and her father is the Vice Mayor of the City of Parkland, the city where she was raised. She is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist and the owner of Bridge Therapy, located in Coral Springs, Florida. Samantha is currently the President of The Friendship Journey as well as the Program Director of Reading Friends, a program that The Friendship Journey offers. She is passionate about giving back to her community, ensuring that the memories of the lives lost are preserved and honored, and supports and leads initiatives that contribute to the eradication of hate. She believes in breaking down barriers in our increasingly diverse world.

 

Shelly Tygielski, Community Organizer and Mindfulness Teacher

After spending almost 20 years in Corporate America immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations, and the past decade as a high-ranking executive in public and privately-held companies, Shelly Tygielski turned to teaching “modern-life mindfulness” full-time, with a special emphasis on teaching mindfulness in corporations and public schools, at non-profits and in social justice and political organizations. For the past decade, Shelly has volunteered as a community organizer in politics, on campaigns, with social justice organizations and on behalf of underserved school districts. She is an Area Leader with the Democratic Party in Florida and in 2016, she co-founded a group of an estimated 3,000 women called “South Florida Women Rise Up” whose mission is to inform, organize and activate local women around central issues affecting the community and this country. Shelly also leads a community of close to 15,000 meditators in Broward County, Florida, leading them in a weekly guided meditation practice on the shores of Hollywood Beach. Within two days of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th, 2018, Shelly became heavily involved with the logistics/organizing for the March for Our Lives movement and began to organize trauma workers and practitioners and bring Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses and certification trainings to the community, as well as Metta (lovingkindness) retreats and classes. Most recently, Shelly co-hosted a Metta workshop in Parkland with world renowned meditation teacher and NY Times bestselling author, Sharon Salzberg. Shelly and Sharon are working on planning consistently scheduled 4-day meditation retreats open to victims of mass shootings. The first will be held during the Summer of 2019 at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. For more on Shelly visit www.shellytygielski.com

People, references, resources, and causes: