Inclusion Matters


Lives of Distinction

The Mirandas

Like Father, Like Son

You’d be hard-pressed to bump into Michael Miranda in the community and not find him with a smile on his face. With his kindhearted nature and a genuine compassion for others, “Mikey,” 31, is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Mikey’s father, John, is one of

the most influential figures in Advocates’ storied history. John held a variety of roles with Advocates, and though he has since retired, his lasting impact is still felt not only in his son’s daily life, but also by the thousands of people receiving services from Advocates, along with the 1,200+ people Advocates now employs. 

“It feels very rewarding, seeing Advocates expand to the point it has,” John reflected, noting that he was just the agency’s 17th employee at one time. John either created or had a major role in developing many of the events, activities, and groups that Advocates provides today, including its kickball league, the Le Moyne College swimming club, the John Wolford Coffee House, and large annual events such as the Family Picnic, the Talent & Art Show, and the Winter Party & Information Fair.

“We are fortunate that John has been a part of the Advocates family from the beginning, and it is a blessing to have him still helping to guide the way as a member of our Board of Directors,” said Amy Dugliss, Executive Director of Advocates. Other longtime associates and friends of John also shared their admiration of him and all he has meant to the organization.

“As a parent, as an employee, and as a board member, he puts everything he has into serving everyone involved with Advocates,” said former Executive Director of Advocates and current CEO of LIFEPlan, Nick Cappoletti. “This wasn’t just for Mikey’s benefit, but rather he leveraged his own experiences to help others receiving services from Advocates, and that’s made a difference for countless people.”

Mikey has followed in his father’s footsteps in fostering relationships and making a difference. One example of this is his creation of a social group to keep people at Advocates connected, engaged, and entertained. Mikey, his friends, and their Mentors routinely arrange day trips, get-togethers, and other fun activities that everyone will enjoy. What started as a mechanism to remain close during the pandemic, the group’s activities have expanded virtually to include things like bingo, scrapbooking, board games, and even simple Zoom calls to keep in touch with one another. “I like seeing my friends’ happy faces,” Mikey said, donning a happy face of his own. “Knowing his friends were doing well during the pandemic really helped him,” John added. “Staying connected was vital, but we also focused on self-care and household skills such as hand washing, creating a daily schedule, and working on cooking skills.”

“I saw a big but positive change in Michael during the pandemic,” said his Mentor, Grace Pinkowski (pictured right with the Mirandas). “He took such an initiative in helping to form these groups because of the social aspect, but it was really more to help his friends.” John couldn’t help but agree. “He’s always been very caring; that’s just who he is,” he said. Compassion for others is another unmistakably shared trait between the two Miranda men.

“John and Mikey are both known for ensuring that everyone is doing okay,” said Advocates Family Liaison, Stephany Keans. “Every time I see Mikey, he’ll ask how my kids are doing or how my day is going. He truly cares about others, and he gets this from his father.” Mikey demonstrates his compassion for others in different ways. “He’ll do things like approach the new person in the room and make them feel comfortable,” Grace said. “Or, if someone is going through something serious, he’ll tell them he’s thinking about and praying for them. It’s in his nature to be very kind and empathetic towards others.”

Several Mentors who have supported Mikey over the years, including Grace, have stated how he’s positively impacted their lives. “This is easily the best job I’ve ever had,” Grace beamed. “Mikey makes it so entertaining and fun, and he lifts me up if I’m having a rough day.”

Just as Mikey uplifts his Mentors, they’re there to in turn support him and his family – whether it’s with day-to-day activities or long-term goals. This reciprocal relationship and the collaborative efforts of his Circle of Support have helped pave the way for Mikey’s success. “It all stems from my wife, Alice,” John said humbly. “I credit her for not treating him any differently from day one, and our entire team has kept that vision all along.” 

“The success of an individual is highly dependent on the involvement of the whole group, and the Mirandas are a great example of this,” Stephany commented. “John treats their Mentors with unbelievable respect, and he treats them like family, rather than employees.”

With his team’s vision, involvement, and dedication, Mikey has amounted to a successful and beloved figure in our community, just like his father. He takes pride in directing his life to achieve his goals, which begins with his innate ability to uplift others and is coupled with the important life skills he’s developed and refined with the help of his Mentors.

Mikey enjoys volunteering his time at Meals on Wheels and Le Moyne College, creating personalized birthday cards for friends and family, and acts as one of the main facilitators and planners for the Miranda family’s annual summer vacation at Camp Tierney on Seneca Lake. Mikey is a proud uncle to his three nieces, all of whom gravitate towards him because of his amiable nature. When he’s not spending time with his family, he enjoys pursuing his interests, which include arts and crafts, music and dancing, acting classes, attending high school musicals, and exploring his community for new activities and places that he and his friends might enjoy. Additionally, Mikey enjoys participating in the very things that his father instituted many years ago, as so many others in the Advocates community do.

“We have a very high level of comfort knowing he’s in good hands now and in the future with Advocates,” John said. “His successes now and down the road will be because of Advocates and his support team, as opposed to anything I’ve done for him.” Nick Cappoletti offered a different vantage point. Because their friendship has spanned decades, Nick knows firsthand how hard John has worked, as well as how modest he is.

“He’s such a humble guy, so I think it’s difficult for him to take any credit,” Nick said. “But when you touch that many lives, you’re impacting the community. And, remarkably, he’s impacted more than just a community…he’s ultimately impacted the entire system.” 

The Advocates family and the community at large are better because of the Miranda family. “John makes the world better, and because of that, it’s an honor to know him and call him a friend,” Nick concluded. And so, the next time you attend an Advocates event, witness people enjoying the activities and social groups Advocates has to offer, or see Mikey Miranda uplifting those around him, we hope you’ll pause and share the same appreciation that we do for John and all of his many contributions.

If you have a caring family member or friend who is looking for meaningful work and the opportunity to support someone as inspirational as Mikey, please encourage them to

apply on our website.

We look forward to meeting them!

Agency Updates

Advocates Annual Appeal - Thank You!

We are humbled by your support!

By supporting Advocates' Holiday Giving Campaign, you have been an essential part in providing families with much-needed services now and into the future. You have truly made a difference, and we’re incredibly grateful!

On behalf of Advocates' families whose lives were touched by your generosity, we sincerely thank you!

Upcoming Events

Calling all bingo players!

Click here to register for this event!


Syracuse Crunch Game

Join us for Advocates night at the Syracuse Crunch!

The Syracuse Crunch

is offering discount tickets to people/

families receiving services from Advocates along with employees.

Join us on Saturday, Feb. 25th at 7pm as the Syracuse Crunch take on the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Discount tickets ($18) can be purchased by contacting Emily Kissinger: (315) 473-4444 ext. 126 or online at: using promotional code: ADVOCATES

Advocates Winter Party & Information Fair

Advocates' Winter Party & Information Fair is back!

Please join us on Friday, March 10th from 6:00pm - 8:30pm for Advocates' Winter Party and Information Fair at Le Moyne College. Over 25 agencies and vendors will be on hand offering resources to assist and enrich the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Our Winter Party will feature entertainment provided by a DJ, games and activities, refreshments, and so much more!

Click here to register for this event!

Advocates 5th Annual Stroll & Roll

Save the date! Sunday, May 7, 2023

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