A Passion Pursued: Philadelphia Man Makes a Life of Music
Tom plays his keyboard in his studio.
Borrower Story

"Music is one of life's gifts. It is toy, tool, and tonic. You can hear it and feel it - there is something for everyone." - Tom Smith

Growing up in Philadelphia, Tom Smith's family had a piano that, for the most part, was treated like just another piece of furniture, adorned with the lamp, a jigsaw puzzle, postcards, and other knickknacks. One night, when Tom was still in preschool, his mother banged out a few bars of "Rhapsody in Blue." Tom was amazed that the piano could make that kind of sound. Little did he know that many years later, after a career in computers and technology, he would make the leap to become a full-time musician.

Over the years, Tom dabbled with the French horn and the trumpet, but his true love remained the piano. He has been inspired by such musicians as Herbie Hancock, Kenny Baron, and Marcus Roberts - "a blind man, who I say with great pride, is one of the most exciting jazz piano players breathing," Tom explains.

Tom is also blind, although he asserts that his penchant for music is inconsequential with regards to his blindness; he would have loved music regardless.

Read Tom's entire story here, including a short video of Tom improvising on the spot for us as well as pictures of a variety of assistive technology Tom uses on a daily basis.
Young woman looks at her bank statement and a calculator while sitting at a table.
New Law Allows People with Disabilities to Open Own Special Needs Trusts

In December, an important new law was signed by President Obama. Bundled in with the 21st Century Cures Act, was a tweak to federal law that will now allow people with disabilities to open their own special needs trusts, rather than relying on parents, grandparents, legal guardians, or courts to set them up. 

This is a big win for people with disabilities, increasing their independence, self-determination, and making it easier to save money for their own care.

Read more about this new law on DisabilityScoop.com.
Bob and two workmen at a worksite with a backhoe in the background. Bob sits in his all-terrain wheelchair.
Working, Hunting and Fishing with an All-Terrain Wheelchair

Hunting at his friend's property in Lenhartsville and fishing at the Kutztown Rod and Gun Club are just a few of Bob Amelio's favorite things to do when he isn't working or spending time with his family. Before getting his Extreme X8 all-terrain power wheelchair, Bob relied on his family and friends to help him get around rough outdoor terrain. 

"Until I got the X8, I considered hunting as off limits to me," says Bob. In his new chair, Bob navigates rocky trails and powers through leaves, mud and grass effortlessly. "I don't see anything as an obstacle anymore," says Bob, "I am just doing what I want to do. Once I got the X8 I was able to walk on the beach with my wife for the first time in 28 years. It was awesome to be able to traverse the beach like anyone else does without huge effort." 

Read more of Bob's story and learn how he funded his new chair here.
Penny Pincher cartoon of woman with lightbulb above her head
Financial Tips with Penny Pincher
10 Signs Your Credit Card Debt is Out of Control
From The Balance, Article by LaToya Irby

It's so easy for credit card debt to get out of control. One day you're happily swiping your credit card, buying things you've always wanted, taking trips to places you've always wanted to visit. The next thing you know your cards are all maxed out and you can't quite remember how it happened.

Is Your Credit Card Debt Out of Control?
There's no gauge to let you know when your credit card debt is getting out of control.

Your credit card issuers aren't going to warn you that your balances are more than you can afford to pay. Instead, it's up to you to have to watch for these 10 signs that show that your debt is out of control:

1. Your cards are maxed out or above the credit limit.  Maxed out credit cards are a sign that you haven't been paying your balance in full each month. Multiple maxed out credit cards only compound the problem, making it more difficult to pay off your credit card balances. And if you don't have emergency savings, you left without a source of funding for an emergency.

  Read the full article here.
Upcoming Events

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Greensburg, PA - January 10 at 1:00pm
We will present about PATF at this local support group.

Train-Learn-Connect Networking Lunch
Newhaven Court, 100 Newhaven Lane, Butler, PA - January 25 from 11:00am-1:00pm
We will present about PATF.

New Castle, PA - March 16 from 11:30am-1:00pm
We will present about PATF at this meeting.  To find out more about CCS, please contact the volunteer CCS leadership team through this email address: LCCouncilofCommunityServices@hotmail.com

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Support PATF While You Shop

You can give all year round with AmazonSmile. Any time you shop on Amazon,  log in through AmazonSmile and choose PATF as your charity to support using this link:  http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-2953796 . It operates the same as Amazon.com and a portion of every purchase you make will be donated to our programs.

There are lots of ways to support PATF's work.   Learn more about how you can help us carry out our mission.
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