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Difference Maker Award: Economics Arkansas gives teachers resources to bring economics to the classroom

Difference Makers Award

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Learning to manage money can be a daunting task, but it’s a necessary one.

“We know that early money habits are formed by the age of seven, so we want to get personal finance early and often and we know that economics is the science of decision making and who doesn’t make decisions every day?” Kathleen Lawson said.

Lawson is the executive director of Economics Arkansas. It’s a nonprofit organization that works to give grade school teachers the tools and resources needed to bring economics to the classroom.

“We love economics. We say that we take the ‘eek’ out of ‘economics,'” Lawson joked.

While the pandemic has created challenges for most nonprofit organizations, Lawson said the virtual aspect has allowed Economics Arkansas to reach more teachers. In 2020 they trained nearly 6,000 teachers in all 75 counties and in almost every school district.

“We’ve had a huge increase in participation and we think that we’ve reduced that barrier for teachers to actually get to our workshops,” Lawson said.

With the growth comes a need for more finances. That’s where Rainwater, Holt and Sexton has stepped in to help. The law firm has awarded Economics Arkansas with the Difference Makers Award and a $1,000 donation.

“To receive a surprise $1,000 gift from a company, a business doing great things in Arkansas, we were just really excited to get that phone call this week,” Lawson said.

Since Economics Arkansas doesn’t charge teachers for workshops Lawson said they plan to use the donation to continue training teachers to help students understand finances.

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