The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Everybody Has a Story

November 15, 2010

Spotlight on giving

Aspiring Actress creates non-profit to help children facing challenges

GREENVILLE — Lanie Taylor, 10-year old aspiring actress from Wylie, is doing her part to change the negative conception many have in regard to Hollywood being overrun with selfishness.

This is being accomplished through her creation of a charity called G.A.M.E.S. (Giving Always Makes Everyone Smile), which she funds with a portion of her acting proceeds. Through this charity, Taylor donates board games to children who face challenges, like those residing in the Dallas Life Foundation homeless shelter or those who are admitted to children’s hospitals like Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.

Since the age of 4, Taylor knew she wanted to pursue a career in acting.

“My favorite thing about acting is playing different characters,” said Taylor. “I’m pretty good at doing accents, too. I can do British, Australian and Southern accents.”

Taylor began taking acting, singing and dance classes since she turned 4 years old, and even pays for her classes with her own earned income, though right now she’s taking a break from acting classes to focus on her singing and dance lessons.

Taylor has worked with Nicholas Cage, one of her favorite actors, in a new film to debut in 3-D February 2011 called “Drive Angry.” She also appeared in “Skateland,” an independent film that came out earlier this year starring Ashley Greene, and “Broken Path,” which debuted in 2008. Taylor also had a cameo in Jason Castro’s “Let’s Just Fall In Love Again” video.

In addition, she’s had parts in several commercials for board games, including ones for Guess Who Extra by Milton Bradley and Operation by Hasbro, along with a commercial she did with Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.

She was also chosen to be the second soloist, out of 650-plus girls who auditioned, in a Heart 4 Hearts doll commercial to air in the coming weeks and just this past week she auditioned for Kidz Bop.

While Taylor’s acting resumé is impressive, it’s what she does with a portion of what she earns acting that is truly inspiring.

But, why games, you might ask. The story begins a few years back when the Taylor family was invited to a Christmas party where each child was supposed to bring a gift costing a certain amount and, in turn, that child would receive a gift. However, at the time, the Taylors couldn’t afford to bring a gift, but were encouraged to attend anyway.

They had fun, but Taylor was the only child who did not receive a game.

“After that, this little girl came up to me and said, ‘Here, you can have my board game,’” said Taylor. “That’s what inspired me to give board games to other kids to make them happy, because that was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me. It was Connect Four and every single time I give back, I give that game.”

A year later, Taylor visited Motel Ministries, who told her in advance that they were really looking for Play-Doh.

“I love Play-Doh,” said Taylor. “I had a little left so I gave my own Play-Doh to the kids, even though I didn’t really want to give it up, but I did.”

It wasn’t too long after that she went back to the Christmas party where she was inspired to give board games and they gave her a free ticket for a kid’s toy, without requiring that she bring a present. When they drew her ticket she couldn’t believe what she had received.

“I had my teenage daughter there who was going through some hard stuff at the time and wasn’t sure if things happened for a reason,” said Taylor’s mom, Theresa. “She was really struggling with her trust in God. When they called the adult prize I told her, ‘See, that could be my ticket.’ When they called the number, she looked at me and said, ‘See, it’s not.’”

Theresa told her daughter that they had no idea what that woman was going through and that maybe she could use it more than they could. All she did was look at her mother questioningly.

“They called my number first during the kid’s giveaway,” said Taylor. “She gave me my gift and I opened it and guess what it was. Play-Doh. A hundred pieces of every single color of Play-Doh.”

Theresa looked at her two daughters and said, “See there. See how powerful God is.”

Now, not only did Taylor know the feeling of giving back, but her older sister got her belief that everything happens for a reason reaffirmed.

In addition to giving back, Taylor has taken to giving back in honor of another aspiring young would-be actress from Rockwall, Alexis Rae, who died unexpectedly in 2009 at the age of 19.

“I knew the mother from a friend of mine and felt a connection that we needed to do something in her name,” said Theresa. “My friend didn’t really want me to contact her about it, so I let it go for a bit, but a month later I sent her a message on Facebook because I thought, you know, if we don’t ask, we’ll never know.”

Within an hour of posting the message she responded.

“She said she’d love for us to honor Alexis that way and that I had no idea what gift I’d given her,” said Theresa. “I didn’t know at the time that it was her birthday. That’s when I knew that’s what He wanted, to wait till the right time to do it. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I think my kids see that, too.”

The Nelson Children’s Center was the first place that Taylor donated in honor of Alexis.

“It’s so powerful, what she’s doing,” said Theresa. “She’s healing kids who have gone through some of the things I’ve gone through and to see her do such great things and have her heart touched by these kids, it’s just so amazing to me.”

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