After the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the community members of Parkland coped in different ways. Many individuals grieved with loved ones, trying to move forward with their lives.
However, for junior Daniel Tabares, his coping mechanism was to help people. For over a year, Tabares has done everything in his power to be a positive force and a motivational figure around the school campus.
He is widely known for his Instagram account, @daniel_tabaresss, where he posts daily inspirational quotes. Recently, he was awarded the first annual Loving Kindness award from the Pittsburgh JCC.
“He’s very compassionate in class, and cares for others- helps them out a lot,” English teacher Chelsea Briggs said. “If he sees someone in need, he will help them.”
Tabares first delved into activism when he was associated with the March For Our Lives movement. Since then, he has amassed a following for his positive attitude.
“He is a kind soul,” Spanish teacher Maria Garcia said. “Everybody in the class respects him, loves him and he’s always treating everybody respectfully and nicely. I’ve never seen any unkind words or any unkind gestures on his part, so I think he really deserves that award.”
Tabares is adamant about helping those in need. He desires making a positive impact, not popularity and attention.
“After the tough impact that we went through on Feb. 14, we’ve all been in grief, and we’ve all felt the pain, as have myself, so we need some positive to help us feel emotionally better,” Tabares said. “Hopefully [teachers and students] will be inspired by words and actions and they will do great for others.”
Tabares winning the Loving Kindness award especially hits close to home for him because the Pittsburgh area faced a similar mass shooting last Nov, when 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue. The Pittsburgh JCC Loving Kindness Center specifically nominated individuals who had helped Pittsburgh recover from their shooting. This past April, Tabares spoke with students and volunteers in a Parkland-to-Pittsburgh recovery initiative.
Considering his previous aid with the town of Pittsburgh, his activism towards gun control issues and his uplifting persona, Tabares was a clear candidate for the award.
“It is an honor, like I said, and it’s the first one for many to come,” Tabares said. “Positive feedback is not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, and hopefully feel better.”
Many of Tabares’s teachers advocated for more people like him.
“We really need this in the world- we need more kindness, more compassion, instead of treating each other poorly,” Garcia said.