Inclusion Matters


Lives of Distinction

Scott Floyd

Where Experience Meets Opportunity

The 14-year story of Scott Floyd and his Mentor, Mark McKeon, stands as a testament to the transformative power of guidance and resilience. Scott's journey, marked by challenges and aspirations, meshes with Mark’s unwavering support, wisdom, and years of both personal and professional experience. Together, they exemplify the profound impact a Mentor can have on a person’s life, and in turn, the unique impact that person can have on his or her Mentor. 

Scott is an easygoing, 34-year-old man with a heart of gold and an ability to brighten anyone’s day. Because Mark has worked with Scott for nearly half his life, there are few people who know and understand him as well as he does. “I’ve never met anybody that doesn’t love Scott the minute they meet him,” Mark said, adding what a kind and considerate person Scott is. “Everywhere we go, we run into people he knows, and he makes everyone’s day better.” And that, in a nutshell, is what Scott aims to do every day – make someone’s day better any way he can.

“Many times, he’s expressed to me that he wants to help others,” Mark said, noting that Scott uses supported typing to communicate. “I want to make the world better,” Scott told us. One of the most rewarding things he accomplished was a joint venture with his mother, Jane. The two collaborated and transformed a simple idea into a thriving endeavor with 'Scott’s Sensory Shop’ – a mobile business where they sold an array of sensory toys for people with disabilities. Equipped with professional signage and business cards, Scott and Jane made a meaningful difference in people's lives through their unique offerings. They achieved this not only with the objects themselves, but also by donating the proceeds from the sales back to organizations in our community that support people with developmental disabilities.

Perhaps Scott’s favorite way of giving back, however, is assisting the Food Bank of Central New York. His method of contributing to the Food Bank is nothing short of a labor of love; in the course of his daily travels, Scott collects bottles and cans, later redeems them, and donates all the proceeds. Scott prefers to hand-feed each and every bottle and can into the machines at Wegmans as opposed to simply dropping them off en masse at a redemption center. The extra sweat equity Scott puts into this good deed further exemplifies the kind of person he is – caring, dedicated, and willing to do anything it takes to support a good cause. 

“Scott collected $1,053.50 in bottles and cans in 2023 alone,” Jane said. “Whether it’s helping the Food Bank, running errands for St. Lucy’s food pantry, or delivering for Meals on Wheels, Scott is always looking for ways to help other people, and it makes me very proud as a parent.”

As the parent of a child with a disability himself, Mark told us that it’s difficult for him to describe just how meaningful his time spent with Scott is. “I’ve learned so much from him,” Mark said. “He’s taught me to be more patient and how to be there for somebody.” Mark also said that he has gained a tremendous appreciation for and understanding of people with limited verbal skills. “Scott is incredibly smart, but with so much stigma out there, some people assume otherwise,” commented Mark, who has made it his job to help destigmatize this – both for Scott and anyone with a disability. “By getting him out in the community, people see his actions and see that he understands. He gets the world, but a lot of the world doesn’t get him, and we’re working together to change that.”

Scott’s challenges are mitigated by the tireless support of his team. As was the case for many people, the pandemic was especially hard on Scott to the point he did not go out in public much, if at all. After taking the proper safety precautions and a bolstering of Scott’s confidence by his Mentors, he eventually began to venture out into the community. Scott’s biggest obstacle, however, has always been the communication barrier. This challenge has been a work in progress ever since Scott was a youth.

“He used to get frustrated sometimes because he’d have so much to say and it’s not easy for him to say it,” Mark said. “But he has come a long way with expressing himself and has shown more patience recently.” Justin Coyne, another longtime friend and supporter of Scott, has witnessed other areas of growth.

“Scott really appreciates routine to the point he used to be very rigid with things,” Justin told us. “But these days, he’s able to transition and is more comfortable with change when necessary.”

Justin then mentioned another critical figure in Scott’s Circle of Support. “I really attribute Scott’s ability to be more flexible to Mark and Kristy,” he said, alluding to Kristy Rinaldo, another of Scott’s Mentors. Both Justin and Mark remarked on Kristy’s value, adding that every player brings a little something different to the table, which, in turn, brings out the best in Scott. “He has shown a new capacity for tolerance and is able to do things on the fly unlike before,” said Kristy, also the parent of a child with a disability.

When Scott isn’t giving back to the community, you can find him at some of his favorite spots around town, including the library, the bookstore, the zoo, and the bowling alley. He also enjoys working out at the YMCA, going for walks, and eating at his favorite restaurants. What many people may not know about Scott is that, despite his limited verbal communication, he is quite the singer. 

When Scott was asked what he enjoys about Advocates, he did not hesitate when he said, “All the people here.” He called Advocates “a happy company to be a part of,” and remarked that Advocates is responsible for helping him bond with people who mean the world to him. It’s safe to say that those around him share that sentiment.

“Scott is one of my best friends, but I also think of him as a son,” Mark said. He went on to say that Advocates has been integral in helping him as a parent of someone with a disability. “My daughter, Kayla, and Scott are living their absolute best lives, thanks in part to Advocates. Scott has helped me realize that everyone has different abilities, and it’s through helping people of different abilities that we grow as Mentors and as parents.”

“They’re all just amazing people and Mentors to Scott, and I’m incredibly grateful for them,” Jane said. Scott commented on some of Mark’s desirable characteristics before sharing his gratitude towards him and all his Mentors. “Mark is kind, helpful, honest, and loving,” Scott typed to us. “My Mentors make me hopeful for the future.”

With the constant love and support he receives from those who care about him, Scott’s future is bright. We cannot wait to see what Scott will achieve next through his lifetime goal of helping those in need.

Do you have a friend or family member who

would make a great Mentor?

If so, please encourage them to apply on our website.

We look forward to meeting them!

Upcoming Events

Advocates Dine for Dollar$

February - Red Robin

Looking for something to do in February? Look no further. Join your friends and family at Red Robin in Fayetteville. Our Dine for Dollar$ fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, February 8th, during regular business hours. Red Robin, located at 610 Towne Drive, offers freshly prepared gourmet burgers, bottomless fries, onion ring towers. wraps and sandwiches, brews and milkshakes. Nicholas Courgi will be on hand to welcome all!

Red Robin will donate 20% of all pre-tax sales back to Advocates. Sales generated on February 8th through online ordering and in the restaurant dining room will be credited to Advocates. Please be sure to tell the cashier that you are with Advocates.

On behalf of our individuals, families, and employees, thank you for your anticipated support! We hope to see you there! 

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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. 10th at 7pm as the Syracuse Crunch take on the Rochester Americans.

Discount tickets ($20) can be purchased by contacting Annika Tyson: (315) 473-4444 ext. 126 or online at: using promotional code: ADVOCATES

The deadline to purchase tickets is February 8th.

We hope to see you there!

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Advocates Winter Party & Information Fair

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Agency Updates

Help us embrace the rich tapestry of Black history! This Black History Month, Advocates proudly celebrates the remarkable contributions, resilience, and legacy of the Black community.

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