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Beach Bowl fundraiser set to aid Junior Achievement

by Kimberly Dishongh | June 19, 2022 at 2:47 a.m.

Josh Hallenbeck found that in teaching financial literacy to third-graders a couple of years ago he learned a few things himself.

"I'm an educated, about-to-be-34-year-old and I was taking notes on some of it, and thinking, 'Oh, this is good,'" says Hallenbeck, a board member and volunteer for Junior Achievement.

And to anyone who assumes a course on financial literacy will lead to yawns of boredom, he adds, "The kids just ate it up."

Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that champions financial literacy, work literacy and entrepreneurship efforts among kindergarten through 12th-graders.

Junior Achievement's Beach Bowl fundraiser, set for 12 to 2 p.m. Friday at Millennium Bowl in Maumelle, will help the organization continue its efforts.

Teams of five will compete for trophies, which will be awarded for the best and worst scores, and there will be prizes for the best-dressed bowlers as well.

Participation is $50 per person, including bowling, food and two drinks.

"Everyone dresses up and does fun stuff," Hallenbeck says. "There's going to be a raffle of Yetis and things like that. It's a great event."

Hallenbeck was on the committee for the last Beach Bowl, and he admits he was skeptical when he learned that it was scheduled on a Friday afternoon.

"You know, I was like, 'Why are we doing this in the middle of a workday?'" he says. "But it was slammed. People were having a good time."

Many of the volunteers and supporters had taken the afternoon off to show up for the fundraiser, and after they bowled through the two-hour event several of them continued bowling.

"They just made a fun afternoon out of it, and they stayed even when we were there cleaning up and putting up the tables," he says. "They were just hanging out and having a good time."

Hallenbeck got involved with the organization a couple of years ago, shortly after he joined Mitchell Williams Law Firm as a patent and intellectual property lawyer.

He has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology from John Brown University in Siloam Springs and had originally planned to go to medical school. He changed course and chose law school instead. In the interim, he helped develop a tutoring program for at-risk students through Potter's House in Fayetteville.

The Toms Shoes business model was big then, he says, referring to the company's pledge to donate one pair of shoes for every pair sold.

"It was like, do this for-profit thing and take some of those profits and do this other [nonprofit], good societal thing," Hallenbeck says. "So we started this ACT tutoring program in Fayetteville, where we would charge higher rates to tutor people who could afford it for the ACT and then we would take half of that money and use it toward the tutoring program."

Getting a chance to teach the Junior Achievement financial literacy curriculum reminded him how much he enjoyed working with kids, and he was impressed by the teaching materials provided.

"It was stuff I knew, my parents taught me these things in some way, but it was such a good reminder of basic financial literacy. Everyone needs to know these things. This curriculum just laid it out so nicely," Hallenbeck says.

Hallenbeck looks forward to Beach Bowl, but he enjoys the hands-on volunteer work just as much.

He gets a chance to chat with students about "invisible" money versus "visible" money -- meaning money you don't see as you spend it using a credit card -- and about the difference between needs and wants and the importance of saving and donating.

"Of course you have to spend money, and then it's also important to donate money back to the community," he explains.

He also has the opportunity to share information about entrepreneurial efforts and to hear the business ideas students have considered.

Hallenbeck's first experience in teaching the Junior Achievement curriculum was virtual -- at the beginning of the covid pandemic -- and he has worked with middle and high school students through workshops and the like.

The older students, of course, have a different take on life, and their questions and ideas take on a different tone than those coming from elementary-age pupils.

The curriculum generally involves meeting with a class once a week for five weeks, though the course he led for the third-grade class took a bit longer because of covid exposures and holiday school closures.

He enjoyed the questions and comments from the children along the way.

"There was a surprising amount of involvement. The curriculum includes games and little game pieces and it includes things that are relevant to third-graders that keep them involved, so that's helpful," he says. "When you ask them, 'Does anyone have a bank account?' or 'Does anyone save money?' You would get all kinds of interesting and funny responses."

Hallenbeck enjoys sharing anecdotes from his Junior Achievement volunteer work with his wife, Jordan, a lawyer at Friday, Eldredge and Clark. She volunteers with AR Kids Read.

"Our volunteer work is definitely one of the things we talk about," he says. "it's something we both enjoy."

For more information or to register to bowl, go to

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