October 23, 2020

Community Spirit Award presented to Jodi Taylor

Jodi Taylor making masks at home Jodi Taylor, winner of the 2020 Community Spirit Award, makes COVID-19 masks at home as part of her work in Greater Lafayette Sewing Masks. (Photo provided)

Jodi Taylor, marketing and outreach specialist for the Department of Theatre, recently received the 2020 Community Spirit Award from the Management and Professional Staff Advisory Committee and the Campus Support Staff Advisory Committee.

Taylor was nominated because of her inherent philanthropic spirit and her ability to unify others under the common goal of helping others. Most recently Taylor, along with  three others, created and grew Greater Lafayette Sewing Masks. This volunteer organization works to provide face masks to families and businesses in need throughout Greater Lafayette. Group members have made and distributed over 57,000 free masks in the recent months. Her extensive efforts at this organization exemplify her commitment to developing, supporting and being an active member of her community.

This award recognizes significant contributions of Purdue staff employees to the life and welfare of the local community and its people. Initiated in 2011 and being given for the ninth time, this award is a joint effort by CSSAC and MaPSAC. The presentation was made by Bill Bell, vice president for human resources, during a joint meeting of the two committees.

Taylor has stepped up and helped on all levels of operation. She shared in an interview that, as the pandemic continued to become part of everyone’s daily life, the need for masks grew rapidly and with that so did the group. She swiftly took up the role of communications and operations coordinator as she noticed a need for a more efficient way to field requests and manage volunteers. Therefore, Taylor developed the group’s website. As Taylor continues to work with the group, her role evolves. Taylor has worked on sewing, graphic designing, administrating, and distributing individual family mask requests.

Jodi Taylor with plaque at Purdue Theatre’s Scene Shop Jodi Taylor stands with her award plaque in Purdue Theatre’s Scene Shop. (Photo provided)

At the beginning of the pandemic, Taylor, like many others, felt a sense of anxiety and helplessness. Therefore, she wanted to transform those feelings and find a productive outlet, saying, “This group really reset my brain and gave nervous hands many tasks -- a small amount of control in a mountain of chaos. It felt good to be able to contribute something to a suffering and scared world, especially something that wasn't available for purchase anywhere.”

Taylor is also a large advocate for the arts. She currently sits on the Programs, Service and Advocacy Committee for Tippecanoe Arts Federation; is the volunteer coordinator for Taste of Tippecanoe; and is a volunteer for the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. Taylor expressed how important it is to her to support the arts in whatever way she can. She strongly believes it brings true vibrancy to the community. Though just another small portion of who she is, her involvement in the arts exemplifies her strong philanthropic character.

Additionally, Taylor volunteers for the Community Cancer Network’s Festival of Trees Gala and Second Chance Animal Shelter.

“It's an honor to receive this award,” she said at the presentation. “No one really volunteers for the recognition, but I won't lie -- it feels pretty darn good, so thank you.”

Writer: Bella Vina, ivina@purdue.edu


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