In this new feature series by Safe At Home, you’ll get to meet some of our strongest supporters – and hear why they believe in our work.
When Tim Markison, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Athalonz, heard Joe Torre’s story, it felt so familiar to him.
Tim grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player. It was his greatest passion in life – and it was his safe refuge from the abuse he experienced as a child. Though his baseball skills got him to college, injuries ended his aspiration and left him wondering what came next.
As the years passed, despite being successful as an engineer and lawyer – as well as having a loving family – he still struggled with the emotional scars of his childhood experience. “I know firsthand the ill effects that carry over into adult life,” Tim shares. “For me, the emotional scarring and spiritual scarring festered causing me to feel worse about myself.”
Tim’s challenges with his self-esteem and self-worth are common among those who have experienced trauma – including violence and abuse – as children. Without early support, the long-term impacts of these experiences can be devastating.
Tim finally decided to seek out counseling to address his feelings. Over time, he came to realize that his struggles were directly connected to his experience – and that he had been living much of his life, even as an adult, in fear. “The thing that I’m working on most now is just letting go of fear. I lived my childhood in fear, there was no safe place for me. And that carried on into my adult life. And that over the last several years… is really starting to diminish. It’s an ongoing project.”
The journey to healing, hope, and empowerment can be lifelong. And as Tim has traveled this path, he realized he needed to speak up about his experience: “In my early days, I had no intentions of ever talking about what happened to me. I kept it very close and private because of the stigma. But I realized I can’t be silent anymore. As long as abuse stays in the dark, it will continue. I can’t accept that.”
His passion to draw attention to the issue and to make a safer world for children inspired him to seek out an organization that provided a safe place for children – and that’s how he connected to Safe At Home. “What struck me about the work is that it’s being in-school, working with kids to open up and creating a safety zone,” Tim shares. “I also appreciate how efficiently Safe At Home is run, so much of the funds raised go directly to support kids. That’s what a charity is supposed to be about.”
Charity and helping others are important parts of Tim’s life. Just over a decade ago, Tim founded Athalonz – a company that engineers performance optimization gear for athletes. Known for their performance enhancing golf shoes, Athalonz’s approach was to combine the strengths of its core team to help athletes achieve at their highest levels.
“I always kept my passion for baseball. 10 years ago, I went to a pro ball camp for adults and met Rick Adair – a former pitching coach for the Orioles. He shared this drill that he used after studying Hall of Fame pitchers to keep the lower half of the body positioned more effectively – and that made me think of how equipment, such as a shoe, might help someone naturally position that way as they pitch.”
From that conversation with Adair, Markison paired his engineering and legal background with the expertise of an orthopedic surgeon and a sports scientist to create the perfect shoe. Their products now not only enhance athletic performance, but have also have helped numerous customers with their health and posture.
Athalonz’s mission is to make the world a better place. Tim feels that purpose is twofold. “We do that with the products we make – we help athletes play their sport better and to feel better. Better play equals a better day. But we also do that with the humanitarian efforts we support.”
For Tim and Athalonz, that approach of doing good and making a better world means that they need to give back. A portion of all sales of Athalonz gear is donated to Safe At Home’s programs, not to mention the generous support their employees – including Tim – have provided over the last three years of partnership. Safe At Home is grateful to Tim and the Athalonz team for supporting our mission.