CLERMONT,FL—-February 19, 2017, ten Give A Day Foundation Volunteers earned medals for their volunteer hours accumulated over the past years. GADF is now going into their sixth year of helping to keep Clermont Beautiful and Making a Difference in the community. Volunteers have many attributes and they standout at events with their blue and yellow shirts, but they will soon standout even more with their new logo. GADF volunteers are always ready to reach out and give a helping hand and 10 volunteers did an outstanding job this past year.
First and and foremost, the founder, Otis Taylor, met the highest benchmark of a volunteer by achieving the Lifetime Achievement Award after accumulating over 4,000 volunteer hours!
“This is cool and I like this achievement,” Otis Taylor exclaimed as his wife handed him the rare and well-earned award. This is the highest honor of a volunteer and something all volunteers can strive to achieve.
Ashanti Mattox earned an award last year and this year she earned the Bronze medal along with Samson Backer.
Four Volunteers earned the silver medal including Diamond and Genesis Backer, Dustin Smith, and Sandra Taylor. Smith has been a volunteer the longest as he finished his fifth year with 280 hours this past year. He already received a medal last year, so he decided to get a coin this year. The volunteers have some award options each year.
Three volunteers earned the gold medal including Ivy Minor, Aaron Upshaw, and Shelby Rosenwinkel. Minor was one of the youngest volunteers to begin volunteering in the organization. Now, Aaron Upshaw joins her as one of the youngest. Minor was excited to wear the gold medal this year as she won silver medal last year. Rosenwinkel won bronze last year and this year she is thrilled to wear gold.
Maria Rodriguez has been a licensed real estate agent since 1994, but she is recognized as a real estate marketing expert, custom broker, and an individual who goes above and beyond to help people meet their goals. She has a following of many happy clients of many years and they refer to as their “real estate agent for life.”
Maria Rodriguez has a passion for the areas where she lists and sales as she has grown up in the area with her family. She has watched the area grow and she has become very attached and knowledgeable. Maria Rodriguez is known as a person who is mindful of each person’s needs, reliable about meeting with people, and credible in giving the answers they are seeking to know.
Watch Maria in Action as She Meets with an Interested Buyer, Audrey
After spending the afternoon with Maria, Audrey has decided to have Maria be her real estate agent. Although, Audrey did not make a decision on a house yet, she knows like many know that Maria Rodriguez is the real deal and she only wants Maria.
One of Maria’s clients is still in touch after more than 10 years. She calls Maria, “The best broker I have ever had.” She went on to buy a business and two houses from Maria as her family followed suit.
Maria’s strengths are in communication and bringing people together. She has a track record of being very effective when it comes to selling property, getting closings, organizing and helping people in the process, working with bank negotiation, and working with insurance and title companies.
Another client of Maria’s who has been a client for more than 13 years said, “Maria shows much patience and kindness. She gives you the info you need. She is very knowledgeable about real estate and she goes above and beyond to help you with your needs.”
Audrey heard from some of Maria’s past clients and she experienced how warm, reliable, honest, and helpful Maria was in another visit with Maria. She toured a gated community fitness center to help her decide on the house and neighborhood she wanted to move into. On this second visit with Maria, Audrey decided on a house and chose Maria as her realtor for life.
Watch Maria Rodriguez’s Testimonies and Audrey’s Decision on a House
HEADLINE NEWS: CLERMONT, FL—-First Ever Indoor Rowing World Sprint Championships has TEAM AWINNINGWAY from Clermont, FLorida, largest US Team represented in the these first-ever world championships!!!
By: Alicia Weber
The first ever World Indoor Rowing Sprint Championship was held March 11-13 where 3,226 adults and 726 kids competed worldwide. The goal of the championship was to attract new athletes into the sport and compete on a Concept 2 machine from anywhere. As a Clermont event director, I made the goal of recruiting the most youth (age 12 and under) into this competition where I provided free training and a free race. I’m happy to say that I had the largest US team of indoor rowers (age 12 and under) representing the USA in this world championship.
I also competed and placed 26th in the world among lightweight women with my new best time of 3:50.3 for the 1,000 meter. My youth team came into this event with zero experience and my mission was to follow their success and see how they felt to do so something out of the ordinary. They learned how to row on a Concept 2 Machine and then competed in the 1,000 meter event all in the same day.
Hannah Bibby, 8, never competed in a sport before and she was our 2nd fastest girl on our Awinningway Team, our youngest competitor, and she placed 59th in the world for girls (12 and under) with her time of 6:42.3.
“This is phenomenal for me. When Alicia asked me if I wanted to learn to row and compete, I said yes because I want to take advantage of every opportunity. It feels good to exercise on an indoor rower,” mentioned Bibby who can now call a world championship her first-ever sport competition.
All the kids learned proper breathing and proper form for indoor rowing and they all exceeded their expectations and mine in their performances.
“This is awesome. I have more confidence and I like testing myself physically and this is a good physical test,” said the excited Nico Kurihara-Taylor after completing his row. He placed 82nd in the world for boys (12 and under) in a time of 6:27.4.
The kids watched each other race and cheered for one another. They are looking forward to their next event now.
“I feel like I am on top of the world,” said the uber-competitive DJ Belanoff who expected to do 10 minutes, but finished in 7:30.7 for girls (12 and under).
Aisha Hak, 11, was the fastest youth girl on our team with her time of 6:16.7, which placed her 53rd in world for youth girls (12 and under).
“It takes a lot of energy and strength. I am surprised I did as well as I did. It’s my first day to do it and I know I will only be getting better,” commented Hak after her race.
Andrew Powell, 13, was the only athlete on our youth team who had experience in an aerobic sport. He is also a cross country runner. He was able to get faster and finish his first-ever 1,000 meter in 4:45.7. He competed against nearly 400 boys upto age 18.
“I felt fatigue in the last 300 meters, but I pushed myself to finish strong because I am really motivated to do this event and try something new,” said Powell who was thankful for the opportunity to compete in this world championship.
“This event has been a great opportunity to keep kids active and off electronics. We appreciate having this opportunity for our kids,” added two parents of the athletes.
Eight Give a Day Foundation Volunteers Receive Distinguished Awards for their Volunteer Service
By Alicia Weber
On Friday, February 26th, 2016, Give A Day Foundation held their Annual Presidential Volunteer Service Awards Ceremony where eight volunteers were recognized with distinct awards including a medallion, certificate, and congratulatory letters from the President of US, President of Points of Light, and the CEO of the Corporation for National Community Service.
Give A Day Foundation has accumulated 12,000 hours of community service with a total of 360 volunteers, since its inception in Clermont five years ago.
“We are about making a difference in Clermont. Volunteering is not only helping the community, but yourself. It’s very calming and brings out smiles,” said Otis Taylor, President and CEO of Give A Day Foundation (GADF).
The minimum age to be a volunteer is five and it goes all the way up. Volunteers deliver a powerful message and inspire others to take action. GADF Volunteers have produced results that have positively impacted Clermont. The President’s awards are based on a 12-month period and there are different levels of gold, silver, and bronze recognition based on the amount of hours and age of the volunteer.
Ivy Minor, the youngest GADF volunteer at 11 years old, received a silver medal for her 90 hours of volunteer work. She was very thankful and honored to wear her silver medal. She shows the community that you are never too young to make a difference.
Shelby Rosenwinkel earned the bronze medal with her 101 hours, while Dustin Smith earned the silver medal with his 368 hours. Minor, Rosenwinkel, and Smith are commonly seen at the Downtown Clermont Farmer’s Market where they put smiles on peoples’ faces with their generous assistance they provide vendors and customers.
Otis Taylor received the gold medal with his 1,056 hours, while his wife, Sandra, received the bronze medal with her 123 hours.
“I thank Mr. Otis for starting GADF. It’s very good to look upto Mr. Otis as a mentor because of how much he volunteers and he shows us that we can do it too as a teenager. We see him working in conditions that are not optimal. It builds our character to volunteer and it makes us responsible for our actions,” mentioned bronze medal volunteer, Christopher Cooper-Bain who traveled a long distance to volunteer and put in 51 hours.
Ashanti Mattox received the silver medal for her 80 hours, while Richard Carroll received the silver medal with 286 hours.
“Volunteering teaches kids that you can do something out of the goodness of your heart. The older people volunteering really show children that it’s not all about getting paid,” said Carroll and his wife agreed.
“Volunteering is great for youth to learn organizational skills, communication skills, and management. The other side of the coin to volunteering is getting work experience, which can be great to put on a resume,” added Larry Rosenwinkel.
“I have written recommendations and received phone calls from potential employers for the volunteers,” added Taylor.
GADF has a track record of impacting Clermont to positive change especially when they asked Lake County to give them their worst roadway, Blackstill Lake Road, and GADF has turned it around into an attractive area where half a million dollar homes and developments are now moving in.
Nearly 40 volunteers clean roadways like Blackstill Lake Road monthly and Center Lake. When GADF first started cleaning Blackstill Lake Rd, there were 15-20 bags of trash along a 2 mile stretch and mainly beer bottles. Now, that the roadway has become attractive, drivers are happy and they give volunteers thumbs up as they drive by during clean up and people are motivated to keep their road clean.
Another major impact GADF makes is in the nursing homes where they do monthly visits for seniors in memory care where they are in locked wards. They do bowling, games, and bring out a lot of fun, which changes the seniors whole outlook on life. They volunteer at Superior Residences and Clermont Rehab Center. They have performed heartfelt volunteering at Meals on Wheels and during their End of Year Food Drive where families get a holiday dinner and kids receive shirts, pants, and sometimes shoes.
“Volunteering is about giving back and helping one another and this is what we should be doing,” said Carroll.
GADF volunteers are active in downtown Clermont events where they are the first to arrive and the last to leave to ensure the community is helped with event set-up and tear down.
“It was my passion to get something going, but a train without a caboose is just an engine. All the components get it moving and make it special. All the volunteers have made this community special,” declared Taylor.
Otis Tayor and his Give A Day Foundation Celebrate Five Years with a Phenomenal Track Record of Making A Difference in Clermont, Florida.
Meredith Yaun is a PGA professional golf coach who has been coaching kids and adults in Clermont for 23 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the city of Clermont and she provides her students unique opportunities. She can be reached for lessons at 407-341-1793.
Meet Meredith Yaun, Clermont, Florida’s Premiere PGA Pro Golf Coach
She offers group lessons to all levels of golfers on Saturdays and she offers private lessons. She guides high school golfers to scholarships and she provides golf/fishing summer camps for kids. Her lessons are one hour and they are packed with education and motivation. She explains and demonstrates golf techniques. She creates games for students, but she also steps in and challenges students in golf skill development games.
“Good aim and good speed are key in golf,” said Yaun.
Marianne Jones, 8, has been training in golf for a year under Yaun. Currently, she is working on her putting. She hopes to one day compete. She practiced putting on an upgrade and downgrade to decide how best to aim and how to swing to create the best speed to get the ball in the hole.
“You have to think in golf. In soccer and other sports you just run around,” said Jones who has been playing soccer five years and plays for Florida Rush on the Lady Lions team.
Yaun encourages students of different sport backgrounds to take up golf. She is a strong advocate of well-rounded fitness and she prepares golfers for all conditions.
“In golf there is a lot of skill to master. You have to learn to aim. You have to think about hills, wind, rain, and how you will swing and hit the ball for the different conditions,” mentioned Jones who thinks highly of Yaun and is confident of Yaun’s teaching methods as Yaun is a very successful Lady Pro Golfer.
The local youth age 6-14 can train and then compete in the US kids Disney Tournament and try to make it to the World Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Yaun trains young students, adults, and seniors alike at the Clerbrook Golf Club and other golf clubs in Clermont, Florida.
Yaun’s son, Jonathan, finished 32nd at the World Championship when he was thirteen and he took 12th place in the 2015 Florida 3A Golf State Championships as he aspires to one day be on the PGA Tour. Meredith Yaun was a Lady Pro golfer who competed for 10 years on the European Tour from 1983-1993. She was based in England 6-10 months out of the year. Her most memorable competition was when she played on a team with three amateurs in a Corporate Golf Day Tournament (3 amateurs and one lady pro comprised the teams).
Her teammates were the CEO of British Rail (a golfer who had one arm and golfed with it), CEO of Themes TV, and the CEO of London Evening Standard newspaper. They played 18 holes and her team won. She was inspired to see how well the man played with only one arm. This motivated her to be prepared for anything and be ready to train anyone including disabled golfers. Meredith Yaun went on to invent different golf strokes like the “one arm bandit” to help disabled golfers excell and give all golfers a challenge!
Senior golfers under Yaun’s tutelage have a second wind as they have all become highly motivated and competitive.
“I am amazed at how quickly Meredith can get me back to where I was before my hand surgery,” exclaimed Freddie at his second session with Meredith after a three month sabbatical from golf after his surgery.
“I play 2-5 times a week on golf courses in Clermont and Orlando and Clerbrook is the most challenging and exciting course. Come to Clerbrook to become a great golfer. I have had several golf lessons with other instructors and Meredith is by far the most understanding and best instructor I have ever had. The flexibility gains and health benefits from golf combined with the improvements made from Meredith’s help are very self-motivating and make me more competitive,” mentioned Steve, a dedicated and very competitive senior golfer.
Clerbrook offers group and private lessons with Meredith Yaun. The club is also open to the public and they offer a men’s league and women’s league for those who want to compete and make friends.
“I highly recommend anyone, male or female, to take golf from Meredith. She takes what you have naturally and enhances it and she is always positive. Your scores will improve,” agreed Clo Ann (who went from a 36 handicap to 26 handicap) and Shiela (who went from a 32 handicap down to a 20).
ATTENTION Clermont runners, triathletes, and endurance athletes – Golf is a great sport to learn to enhance flexibility and stretch tight muscles.
“I took my first-ever swings at golf under Meredith Yaun’s instruction and I saw success immediately. I could feel the increase in my flexibility and the mental components of golf. Research has shown that golf improves flexibility in endurance athletes and it is a suggested sports specific training activity for endurance athletes to keep them limber and agile as they get older,” said Alicia Weber who was very impressed with Meredith’s coaching methods. Weber could see where training under Meredith and achieving success could become addictive and create a lot of golfers in Clermont.
Strength and Endurance Athlete and World Record Holder, Alicia Weber, Takes Her First Swings at Golf Under Meredith Yaun!
Meredith Yaun is ready to take all ability levels to the next level in golf. If you are looking for a positive, successful, experienced, and caring golf coach – Meredith Yaun is the one. Call 407-341-1793 today!
Harvest Fest Vendors and Participants as well as Runners Had an Extra Special Halloween in 2015
Clermont’s Harvest Festival was hugely successful for vendors and participants as Halloween was a big hit for local cross country runners.
The goal of the Harvest Fest was to bring business to the whole area and new people in from far away. Highly motivated visionaries and Downtown Clermont Board members, Erika Shanoff and Bill Carter, quickly came up with the Harvest Fest idea and made it happen.
Vendors came as far away as Marietta, Georgia. Others traveled from Micanopy and Merritt Island to be here and they plan to return.
“We want to make it an annual event,” said the smiling Shanoff who is the owner of Erika’s Tea Room and Gifts and a creator of monthly innovative events within her business.
Shanoff has monthly Bookin’ and Cookin’ Club meetings with over 70 varieties of tea from all over the world where they serve lunch every day except Monday.
During the Harvest Fest, people of all ages strolled down Montrose Street in their best costumes looking around to see what caught their eye like vendors like Kats Kreations Lucky Bamboo, Scentsy, and Homemade soaps. Halloweeners enjoyed learning of new vendors like Florida Totalcom.
“We had a lot of folks who are curious about our internet service. No one has heard of us before, so this was a great event for us,” said a rep with Florida Totalcom who traveled from Marion County.
The activities surrounding the Harvest Fest stirred a lot of spooks and interest well into late night. The Historical Village became a Haunted Village where the first teachers came back to life in Clermont’s very small, first-ever classroom.
Sommersports put on the 5k Nightmare on the Clermont Trails where runners ran at 7pm through spook stations on the trail with the race ending in the Harvest Fest. A giant spider and black cat hovered over runners as they crossed the finish line in front of a crowd of excited spectators.
Demetri Mancini, a sophomore on the South Lake Eagles cross country team, crossed the line first.
“I loved it. It was really fun and relatively easy, since it was a flat course,” exclaimed Mancini as he received his first place finisher’s medal.
Clermont’s Real Life Christian Academy cross country star, Cadi Rowe, was the second place female to cross the line.
With the cross country season coming to a close, runners took advantage of the unique races.
Alicia Weber was the only runner from South Lake to compete in the Zombie 5k Beach Run on New Smyrna Beach where she took first place female overall and survived the zombies.
The race was to be very different and difficult where runners could earn “I survived” shirts if they escaped from the 3-5 Zombies set every quarter mile along the beach. They would chase you and if tagged, then you don’t survive.
Deland high school boys cross country team dominated the top spots, but they agreed it was very tiring as some did not survive the Zombies. “The times were much slower as you are running conservatively and then sprinting fast and zig zagging off course to escape fast moving Zombies,” mentioned Dylan Beck, AJ Williams, and Tyler Rollins.
“The race was built in interval training and I loved it,” added Jennifer Alonso who ran the race for the first time and plans to do some hilly Clermont races.
“I was drafting behind Alicia and when she took on the Zombies and got off course, I got ahead of her and beat her by two seconds,” said Dan Finnane who finished 7th overall in the Beach 5k.
Between the Clermont and New Smyrna uniquely themed Halloween races in conjunction with the Harvest Fest, cross country runners were on Cloud 9 and they had extra special Halloween. At least, Alicia Weber did.
“This is definitely my most exciting Halloween ever and the first time I competed on Halloween. My race victory, new friends, and fun at Harvest Fest make it the best Halloween for me,” exclaimed Weber.