Raft (Resource Area For Teaching)

Rating: 4.9 stars   39 reviews

Issues: Education, Job Training

Location: 1355 Ridder Park Dr San Jose CA 95131 USA

Mission: RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) believes that hands-on teaching is the best way for students to learn. RAFT transforms surplus materials donated by local businesses into interactive learning experiences for students in math, science, technology and art, providing teachers and community groups with creative tools to enhance education and promote hands-on learning.
Results: RAFT is an innovative nonprofit (501c3) pursuing the advancement of hands-on learning in our schools. It was founded in San Jose, California in 1994 as the creation of Mary Simon, who continues to lead the organization. The RAFT programs serve 10,000 teacher members at the two sites. The organization operates on a $3 million annual budget used to operate programs and subsidize teachers, providing needed tools for teaching, and professional development opportunities. * Hundreds of Innovative Idea Sheets, tied to CA state standards are posted on the RAFT web site, * 50,000 classroom kits (assembled by volunteers) are provided each year for state-standard aligned activities.
Target demographics: Pre-K through 12th grade teachers. Many children learn best through the exercise of tactile and kinesthetic senses. RAFT provides hands-on teaching tools for over 800,000 students throughout the Bay Area.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 7.500 teachers throughout the Bay Area
Geographic areas served: Greater San Francisco Bay Area with affiliates in Sacramento, CA and Denver, CO
Programs: RAFT collects the surplus items from local businesses and transforms them into learning materials in math, science and art. RAFT also offers professional classes for teachers to improve their hands-on teaching skills. 600 teachers come to our facility each week to gather supplies and learn new teaching techniques.
2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 77-0365627
408-451-1420
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

RAFT offers countless affordable-to-free resources for teachers. I found fabulous science and art lesson/experiment packets that are standards-based with materials for 20 kids already included, awesome materials for projects and cheap books. They have a room with discounted stickers and an area for prepping for projects with hundreds of different die cuts. I can spend hours there just browsing and getting ideas for science, art, math and writing projects. There are great workshops offered as well. I love RAFT! When I retire from teaching, I want to volunteer!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my classroom and my teaching.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have one closer to Watsonville.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the amount of resources available and the creativity that results!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very helpful and excited about teaching.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

be in more counties/cities and/or have more free resources or workshops for teachers and students.

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

n/a

One thing I'd also say is that...

n/a

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Today my 3rd graders combined measurement and planning skills, language skills, creativity, and materials that might have been discarded instead of cherished . . . to create monogram cards, each as unique as its artist. It's Halloween week, and we put our capital letters "in costume". Tomorrow my 3rd graders will use their letter-writing skills to personalize their cards, put them in hand-decorated RAFT envelopes, and further the preservation of the hand-written letter as a treasured form of social connection. RAFT provides me kits that match the state's curriculum requirements, completely capture student interest, are affordable in this time of budget cuts, and that I would NEVER have been able to pull together on my own. RAFT offers me workshops that are models of classroom management while teaching activities that enrich my students' creative opportunities. RAFT inspires me with its synthesis and excitement. RAFT offers corporations a lively opportunity to do a wonderful thing for children and the financial advantage of not paying to discard their overages.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the eager participation of my students in lessons that would be "deadly" if taught only with the text.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the year after year consistency of helpfulness to teachers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

completely positive and supportive.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

repliate itself.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-10-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

Whenever you see a great organization doing the right things, look behind for a shining star. RAFT is fortunate because founding director Mary Simon is a dedicated individual who strongly believes in what they do. So many children are served each day; things are taken from the waste stream and re-used (not recycled) and everyone wins. I love RAFT!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own child's school and places where I used to work (and RAFT picked up left-over supplies)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The wonderful people involved, the great volunteers, the system itself.

Ways to make it better...

I am not sure how they could improve at this point. I am very satisfied with my RAFT experiences.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-7-01

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

This is a great place to get bargain knick-knacks and doo-dads for your classroom. There are also fabulous games and activities in a bag for you to assemble and do in class. All are aligned with the state standards! And so cheap, too!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to San Mateo County!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

 
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