Whoever said ballroom and business don’t go together clearly hasn’t met SC&H Director of Technology Advisory Services Jeff Bathurst. During the week, this Baltimore native spends his days at the business advisory and accounting firm’s headquarters in Sparks, MD, helping clients strengthen their technology strategy and execution. But recently, once the work day is over, Jeff has been trading his suit in for some dancing shoes.
This coming April, Jeff is participating as a dance competitor at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Ball fundraiser to give his nonprofit involvement a little bit of flare. And when he’s not busting moves on the dancefloor, he’s helping families get fresh starts by building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
This determination to try new things and learn from them—whether they’re within his comfort zone or not—is nothing new for Jeff, and it is something that he aims to share with others. His work at SC&H is heavily tied to connecting companies with the proper tools to enhance their technological experiences and expand their knowledge bases.
And though the technological advances that we’ve seen in recent years have made for a more connected and more efficient world, Jeff knows just as much as anybody else that the rise of cyberspace has sparked unique dangers for its users, especially children.
“Technology has opened the entire world to our children, so you’re protecting them from a multitude of threats,” he says. “In our school circles, folks commonly ask me for recommendations around how to help protect our kids when they use technology.”
In part, it was this need to inform others, especially those who interact closely with children, about the ways in which technology and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) can intersect that drew Jeff to No More Stolen Childhoods. He first heard of the organization through his good friend and NMSC Board President Mike Fitz-Patrick. After attending a fundraiser, Jeff was sold on becoming part of the team.
“Given that my wife and I are parents of a twelve-year-old daughter, we want to make sure that her learning environment and her life are [safe],” Jeff says. “Our primary job as parents is to protect our kids.”
And this protection comes in a lot of different forms. The newfound risks with Internet use are definitely something parents should look out for, but for Jeff, this awareness must also come from kids themselves.
“The biggest thing that you can do is have a conversation with your child about technology and about what type of people use it,” he shares. “If they’re not ready to handle that conversation, then they’re probably not ready to handle the technology.”
But the rise of technology is not all doom and gloom. Jeff notes that the existing online services dedicated to protecting kids continue to improve every day. In a world where everyone is as brave as Jeff in taking every opportunity to learn something new, the future of our children’s safety will be that much brighter.
“If we stop learning, we stop growing. NMSC’s work is helping people learn about [childhood sexual abuse], these threats to children, and helping to put things in place so that we can try to prevent this from occurring.”