We, at the South Lake Tablet, have found that our community is the home of people with blended backgrounds, possessing an assortment of talents, interests, and experiences. Many of these unique people go far beyond their normal routines to make life better for their families, neighbors, and friends.
Each month, the South Lake Tablet will place a “spotlight” on one of these residents who selflessly devote time and effort to make a positive impact on his/her community.
Otis Taylor, Founder of Give A Day Foundation

This month’s community spotlight shines on Otis Taylor. It is hard to meet anyone who has been in the South Lake Community for any time at all and has not at least heard of Otis Taylor and his passion for the well-being of the South Lake area. Otis, a 1989 Florida transplant from Chicago Illinois, discovered his passion for helping others in 2011.

Otis truly felt that he had found his calling while helping his wife, Sandra, take care of her mother while her health was failing. Otis was in a position in which he could retire from his long career in the automotive repair industry. He and his wife Sandra made the difficult decision that would allow Sandra to complete her career and retain pension benefits while Otis remained at home to care for Sandra’s mother.
L-R – Sandra and Otis Taylor
“The loss of my mother-in-law woke me up to so many issues in the community. I had never really paid attention to those needs, including homelessness, before. I worked 10–14-hour days most of the time, including weekends, so I just didn’t notice the problems during that time. God turned on a light bulb and gave me the sense of awareness that I had never had before,” says Otis.
Although Otis is officially retired as far as his career and job, one could hardly say that he has slowed down and is now taking it easy. Not only do he and Sandra enjoy the seven grown children between the two of them, but they also enjoy their grandchildren, including the sixth grandchild who came into the world last month.  As an active South Lake Chamber of Commerce member, Otis strives to attend each new business member’s ribbon cutting. It is common to see him helping business personnel set up tables, chairs, and refreshment areas before the official ribbon cutting takes place. Chamber breakfast seating and table set-ups are often managed and completed by Otis and his wife Sandra. His dedication and motivation earned Otis the prestigious South Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador of the Year award in 2020.
As a true patriot for the betterment of our community, Otis shares his passion of helping others through the creation of his not-for-profit organization, Give A Day Foundation (GADF). GADF was created when Otis, who routinely logs 45-50 hours a week of volunteer time now, found himself with a lot of spare time after the passing of his mother-in-law in 2011. Red tape and bureaucracy seemed to be the normal method of practice when efforts were made to help other organizations or step up for himself. “I wanted to form a way that allowed anyone that wanted to help in the community, to do so without having to jump through hoops. The goal is to coordinate teenagers through local high schools and allow them to earn community service hours at the same time. Community service hours are required as one of the qualifiers for the State of Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship program,” says Otis.
From working with teens and seeing the needs of young men in the area, Otis continued his efforts to improve the lives of teens and young adults by creating the Champion Circle. The Champion Circle is an empowerment program geared towards young men from the ages of 14-19, with the intent of helping participants equip themselves with the necessary tools to guide them in the direction of building a successful future. Life experience courses and classes are led by various community leaders and business representatives giving the attendees a hands-on approach to realizing career and continuing education paths to pursue.
South Lake Non-Profit Think Tank (SLTT)
While Otis’ plans were maturing in positive ways, the world seemed to stop in the late spring season of 2020 and the South Lake Community was no exception. With the arrival of a disease that most had not heard of before, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was shutting down society as we knew it. Many non-profit organizations in the area had not only become impotent, but many closed their doors permanently. Organizations that helped with food insecurities, homelessness, counseling, and many other aspects of life suddenly found themselves unable to help those in need. From his position of observing much of the unprecedented confusion that was occurring in the community, Otis fed his optimism by creating the South Lake Non-Profit Think Tank (SLTT) in the early fall season of 2020. “I wanted to find a way to address problems before they became out of control. The biggest problem that I was seeing was the lack of collaboration among the different organizations. We needed to find a way to communicate with each other and solve problems together versus encountering burnout, frustration, and the feeling of hopelessness,” says Otis.
The SLTT brought organizations together in a relaxed and non-territorial way as a group of people who all had similar goals but were not sure how to achieve them during the difficult times of COVID-19. Creativity was a must since group meetings were restricted at the time. Alternative methods were utilized to meet in the beginning but four years later, the bi-monthly meetings are now held in person at the Community Foundation of South Lake, 2150 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont. The SLTT continues to grow in attendance with the intent of uniting local non-profit organizations and finding innovative ways to assist each other in obtaining goals. “The more that we build, and take down wooded areas, the more that the homelessness problem is exposed in our area. I often see 300-400 cars lined up at food drop (food donation) locations,” says Otis.
 Otis shared that he had a vision of putting programs together that would facilitate our senior members of South Lake. “It is the non-profit organization’s place to bridge the gap between place and problem by making it happen. We need to give more support to our seniors and help them in getting active in the community,” says Otis. Through the GADF, Otis is researching an Adopt-A-Grandparent program. The program would organize student volunteers to spend time with the elderly and hopefully inspire the senior adult to become active in various interests, including community events. The program is nearing a pilot trial with an assisted living facility in Clermont. Further details of the program will be available as the program progresses.
When asked if there was one thing in the community that he could change, Otis quickly replied that he would like to rollback the hands of time when the city-owned plenty of property and would have attempted to prepare a place for the youth in our community to gather and be a part of the community by participating in various, managed programs geared towards the young people of South Lake. “I grew up with community centers in the neighborhoods and it gave the children a sense of togetherness,” says Otis. Discussions have been in place for the location of a community center since the inception of the Lincoln Park South Lake Alliance (LPSLA) was formed in 2021. The LPSLA addresses community needs with the goal of executing projects and programs around those needs. However, to date, no permanent plans have been put into place for purchasing land or an existing structure that would accommodate a community center.
Otis will be seeking a new chapter in his civic life on May 14th when the City of Clermont will be holding a special election to fill City Council Seat 2. Otis Taylor and Tod Howard are the two candidates that have qualified to be on the ballot.  Seat 2 was unexpectedly vacated in December 2023 when Council Member Jim Purvis died following a brief illness.
Visit to learn more about the many programs that are offered to youth and young adults.
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