Tim Hardy III was given the choice to pick from musical lessons, language lessons or an instrument rental, and he chose none because he wanted them all. Instead, Hardy, 15, picked a bus pass.

“We wanted to pick one thing to help encompass everything,” said Cynthia Davis, Hardy’s mother.



For 10 years, the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund has provided needed extras—not traditionally available through government funding—for children like Hardy whose family or self is served by the Department of Human Services.

His household consists of his mother, grandmother and miniature watchdog Fendi and has no drivers which also made the bus pass a more logical choice.

Hardy’s mother is legally blind and currently receives case management from the DHS Allegheny Link to Aging and Disability Resources. Hardy is a devoted and helpful son. He assists with everyday tasks around the house, and in getting back in forth to places they need to go. Because of his mother’s disability, it has been difficult for Hardy to get back and forth to his various after-school activities.

Besides the choices mentioned for Hardy, the fund also provides karate lessons, dance lessons, art lessons, graduation expenses and more. The backgrounds of the children participating in the fund range from disabled youths, victims of abuse, vulnerable minors and recovering addicts. The fund helps children take a positive and active role in their life.

This year, money for the Music Festival Fund was raised by an annual concert at Hartwood Acres, and a Candidates Comedy Night that was held at the Homestead Improv. So far, the fund has been able to raise more than $250,000 and has helped 1,077 children, said Kathleen Burk, senior communications manager for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

“All of this can make a significant difference in the life of someone who was previously given little hope for a bright and promising future,” said Burk.

Hardy, a sophomore at Steel Valley High School, uses his bus pass to attend extracurricular activities such as SADD, junior varsity football, French club, junior varsity basketball, miming at Macedonia Baptist Church and playing the tuba.

FUN-RAISER—As a part of the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund the county holds an annual Comedy Night featuring noted politicians. Here Sen. Arlen Spector, who was featured this year, with Ondrea Burton, organizer.

Hardy is passionate about writing poetry. He was encouraged by his mother to pick up a pen and express himself because “it doesn’t get angry with you.” This year as a member of the Langston Hughes Poetry Society, he participated in the second annual Black Tie Poetry Event.

“Poetry helps me with emotions. It helps me say something in a different way, and I like to leave my reader to ponder,” said Hardy.

Playing around with his cousin LaQuan and a basketball, Hardy looks youthful but to sit down and speak with him one finds a maturity beyond his years. His contributions and involvement in his church were acknowledged recently by the Baptists Association with the Layman’s Award.

He also performed at this year’s JAM (Jesus Anoints Me) Fest at Macedonia Baptist Church with Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin.

“I am truly blessed. A lot of the time he ministers to me through his poetry when I’m down or upset,” said Davis.

To participate in the Fund Hardy his mom only needed to fill out a packet but he encourages others to also apply with an open mind.

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