Otis Taylor, Founder of Give A Day Foundation

Feature Story and Photos by Larry H. Oskin

Otis Taylor personifies the pride and community spirit that is regularly displayed in the South Lake Community!  By founding the Give A Day Foundation, Otis has made hundreds of volunteers into everyday heroes who help make a difference. Because of his contribution to the community, the South Lake Chamber of Commerce recognized him as its Ambassador of the Year.

The Give A Day Foundation partners with local area non-profit organizations to support seniors, families, teens, children, animal rescue, arts, culture, Special Olympics sports and recreational activities. Their mission is to help our community through volunteerism.

 Give A Day Volunteers come from every religious, ethnic and economic background imaginable. Some of their team volunteers once each week, some once a month, some just for specific activities and some just participate once a year. GADF volunteers do share one thing in common. Together, they help improve the lives of individuals and families while helping us to build a stronger community. It all started with personal ambition and a simple dream to help others.

Otis Taylor started from humble beginnings. Taylor is originally from a large southside family in Chicago.  With 6 kids, their family struggled with normal work and family issues. He graduated from Christian Fenger Academy High School before he attended LaSalle University to study architecture. After a few years in the workforce, he switched to a more rewarding career in automotive services. He has done everything from driving cabs, filling gas tanks at service stations, doing automotive repairs and detail bodywork before getting into more challenging career opportunities. Taylor even owned his own successful automotive repair shop. After moving here to Florida, he successfully worked at the Orlando Napleton Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership as a repair technician, a service manager, a shop foreman and then a parts department manager.

While at Napleton, his mother-in-law become very sick and bedridden. While helping to take care of her with his wife Sandra, he then decided to become her full-time care giver. They moved his mother-in-law here to Heritage Hills in Clermont to better take care of her. This personal 24/7 caregiver experience gave him the inspiration to try to help others care for the ill and needy, while also serving his entire community. He also really wanted to help others have choices. While moving here to Clermont, Taylor did not consider himself retired, even though he had started to work full-time with no income. To support their family, his wife Sandra kept her day job at Disney, with her 27 years of seniority. Still, Taylor wanted to make more of a heart-filled impact through expanded community service.

After some networking with a friend at the Central Florida Credit Union, he joined the South Lake Chamber of Commerce. They openly welcomed Taylor and introduced him to meet and help many other people.  He quickly became an active Ambassador to help welcome new local businesses with grand openings, ribbon cuttings and special events.

Give A Day Foundation soon had the opportunity to expand with all of the connections he made at the South Lake Chamber of Commerce. Their first year, Give A Day was primarily enhanced as an ‘assist at home program’. He got others to help him volunteer to drive people to doctor’s appointments, shop for groceries, run errands and to help the needy with in-home care. Then, they started to help at nursing homes. With word-of-mouth, this fledgling community service team expanded further with many more volunteers and opportunities. Taylor officially registered the Give A Day Foundation as a 501-C3 non-profit organization in November 2011 to help take his growing South Lake program services to the next level. By adding more homes, healthcare facilities, rehab centers, food banks, church groups, nursing homes and non-profit community organizations, he solicited and organized more volunteers to step up.

The Give A Day Foundation team of volunteers started to help with all of the Clermont Farmer’s Market and all of their special events.  He added teens and adults to his volunteer workforce team of GADF volunteers to help with all of the Clermont Farmer’s Market, First Fridays and all of their special community events. With a growing snowball effect, GADF has expanded its services to help with City of Clermont and South Lake community events like Pig on The Pond, Dragon Boat Races, the Clermont Triathlon Race, Chamber Breakfasts as well as local Adopt A Lake and Adopt A Roadway programs. They have sponsored annual food drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas to help families in need.

SLCC Award & Honors!  At a recent annual awards breakfast ceremony, Taylor was surprised as he was honored as the new ‘South Lake Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Ambassador of The Year’. He received a beautiful plaque and award. Taylor proudly and humbly noted, “I am really still just trying to make a positive impact in our community!”

Give A Day Foundation – Expanding Community Service Programs: This GADF group has expanded in the past few years with many exciting new volunteer service programs and their Florida Bright Futures Scholarships. They offer a valuable training program to all new volunteers. They support higher education by providing volunteer opportunities for students earning community service hours, whether they are in elementary, middle, high school or college. Each year, they help award volunteers with the prestigious American Government President’s Award for young adults. Their very special Champion’s Circle program helps to empower young males from 15 to 19 years old. Eligibilities require at least 100 to 175 volunteer service hours. This program shares support with Identity Discovery, Career Development, Health Awareness, Financial Management Skills and Volunteerism. Some

New Volunteers, Sponsors & Donors Welcome: Everyone is invited to become a GADF volunteer, a sponsor or a donor. You can become a team leader or a volunteer coordinator. Those who can make a monetary donation are greatly appreciated.  You can also donate gift cards supplies, tools and products to help their volunteers better achieve their work.

Now getting ready to celebrate 10 years – in November 2021, the Give A Day Foundation is a very successful self-funded non-profit organization. Their services are offered for free or for some form of donation. Taylor takes no salary. All generous sponsorships, donations and financial support help their team achieve a growing support system and organization.

Otis Taylor modestly shares, “I am just an ordinary guy! I still want and need to do more to help our South Lake community. I want to make a difference! I wasn’t born for this … but I really do love it! It is really not about me. I am just a small piece of a big puzzle. I try to use my abilities to help others not by what I say, but what I do. I try to follow the Golden Rule and live by the motto: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”

 Give A Day Foundation:  To learn more about GADF, visit their website at: https://www.giveadayfoundation.org/. Visit and like their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/GiveADayFoundation/. You can call at: 407-864-3303 or email Otis Taylor directly at: Otis@GiveADayFoundation.org.


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