I joined the board of RAFT because it has enabled and empowered a large number of teachers in the bay area through their innovative programs that bring together the tech industry, the school districts, teachers and the students. They have an amazing leadership that is passionate, driven, mission oriented, and transparent.
RAFT is an amazing organization that has been helping teachers inspire their students for many, many years. As a former Board member, I continue to support RAFT in any way I can because I just love and appreciate what this nonprofit does for educators and students. RAFT's mission of "Inspiring joy through hands-on education" is so accurate. I've seen firsthand how students react to RAFT's math and science kits - pure joy and excitement. So much so that they bring the kits home to show their family and friends.
I have been on the BOD of RAFT for 5 + years. It has always been an inspiring organization, dedicated to diverting useable educational materials to the classroom instead of the landfill. But they have gone above and beyond during Covid, adopting a student-focused approach that led them to partner with schools to distribute hand-on learning resources for students to use at home. That's innovation!
RAFT believes that hands-on teaching is the best way for students to learn, and I believe it too, which prompted me to join the board, and now I see firsthand the contributions this organization is making to Bay Area communities. As a former School Board Trustee, I feel RAFT can help school districts enrich their curriculum and make learning fun for all students. As a member of the Intuit Inc. leadership team, we are proud to sponsor this wonderful organization.
I am impressed with RAFT as an organization.
The team brings the joy of hands-on learning to students and educators, inspiring creativity and learning of science.
A force for good for people and the environment by transforming donated material that otherwise might have ended up in landfills into wonderful hands-on STEAM learning kits.
RAFT is a wonderful organization. Corporations donate excess materials (which would otherwise end up in landfill) to RAFT and RAFT finds creative ways to up-cycle them into hands-on, STEAM focused learning lessons for students. It is a "win-win" for the environment and the education community. RAFT also offers classroom resources, professional development resources, makerspaces, and a STEAM Summer Camp. With support from generous donors, RAFT is able to provide additional outreach to underserved communities and focus on reducing the equity gap. As a Board Member, I see first hand the impact RAFT has on the lives of both educators and students. I'm happy to serve and support RAFT in this mission.
I've been a board member for the past 3 years and have been overwhelmed with the value that RAFT delivers to students and educators. This was very apparent as the organization shifted it's operating model to adapt to the pandemic, and still provide STEAM materials and learning opportunities for educators and students. I'm consistently impressed by RAFT's outreach to the community and network of relationships among educators that result in hands-on learning opportunities for students.
RAFT is an incredible resource for the teaching and learning community in our region and beyond. Teachers, parents, families, children, home schoolers, after school programs and community groups can all access materials supporting STEM related learning. Teachers love being able to network with each other and learn together how to bring hands on learning to the classroom (in person and virtually).
RAFT is a user friendly resource for teachers and families. Students and teachers love the hands on activities. It is the perfect resource for making the science standards come alive and getting kids excited about learning! Sending kits home with students while in distance learning has become a stress free, fun family activity that brings out the joy of discovery for everyone!
RAFT is a fantastic organization that truly inspires joy in learning. As a teacher in the Bay Area, I have seen firsthand how RAFT is a wonderful resource for educators to obtain repurposed and reimagined materials to help students grow instead of having that material end up in a landfill. In my role as a Board Member, I am impressed that RAFT extends its mission to the students with the greatest needs, especially in light of our current remote learning conditions.
When I first learned about RAFT a number of years ago, I was inspired by its mission in helping educators "inspire joy through hands-on education." I continue to be impressed with RAFT's leadership in providing resources for educators (including parents), inspiring students to learn, and the impact the organization has on our local communities. It makes me proud to serve on the board of RAFT.
I have been working with RAFT as a Board member, volunteer and staff member for 12 years. They make an amazing contribution to furthering STEAM education in the Bay Area. In particular to working with underserved student populations. They do this with a focus on hands on learning, engaging students by bringing joy and fun into the classroom. They support educators locally, providing resources and professional development tools.
The A truly outstanding organization that is transforming the way students learn
My name is Jim Harrington, a current Board Member of RAFT. I have been exposed to RAFT for more than 3 years as a supporter and now a Board Member. This is my first Non Profit Board as I wanted to make sure I can take the time to commit to the long term mission. I have been positively influenced by the mission and vision, execution, Leadership Team and the Board on their affect on education in creating innovative tools and approaches to learning. They have garnered community and education system support and adjusted successfully with the Pandemic on delivery to teachers and students.
RAFT has accomplished so much in its 26 year history. Founded by a local San Jose teacher in 1994, this organization has grown with the Bay Area to serve over 8,000 educators and 150,000 students. In the past few months it has been incredible to see how they have pivoted to serve those students, families, and educators who have been most impacted by shelter-in-place, and they are committed to providing hands-on learning resources to the community during this time.
RAFT does such a HUGE service for educators in Bay area by reutilizing tools, materials, and resources for the classroom at super cheap! Teachers are so stretched thin with their own budgets that RAFT allows them to feel a sense of relief with the cost to buy materials. Also the amount of dedicated community service they have provided for schools since the pandemic started has been super heartfelt. Thankfully through partnerships, they have been able to provide students with hands-on steam projects in conjunction of meal distribution school sites to encourage at-home education that was diminished due to the pandemic.
My introduction to RAFT started with seeing how engaged, interested, and happy my young children were while building some of RAFT's amazing kits. And it was just an added bonus knowing how important this STEM/STEAM learning is for their development and growth. It is rewarding knowing that a non-profit like RAFT is out there to help teachers get the training and resources they need to help our next generation develop their STEAM skills.
As a retired k- 8 science teacher hear is m,y recommendation:
Fabulous real science in a kit for home science.. I have kits sent to my grandie and then we do them on facetime.. I would suggest more teachers use these and even the worksheets for virtual education better than the stuff sent home from classroom that was randomly selected with not always real science or appropriate grade level follow ups that these include..
I would suggest a kit for you and the student.. I downloaded instructions for me but it would have been better to each have a kit.
Thankfully, I was introduced to the RAFT early in my teaching career, so I've been coming to the RAFT for more than 20 of my 30 years of teaching. Discovering Klutz Press books on string figures changed the focus of my work, and the recycled fiber and yarn resources gave me the means to implement many of these project-based and hands-on activities. Their amazing kits and learning ideas also added a lot to my ability to create a truly student-centered curriculum. What a gift and blessing for the educational community!
RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) is the only place in the Bay Area where over 300 Tons of materials are donated every year from local companies and transformed into STEAM hands-on learning materials! We are a Costco for Teachers with our 32,000 square foot warehouse. For over 26 years educators have relied on RAFT for professional development, makerspace builds, classroom materials, and STEAM learning activities and kits.
I am proud to work at RAFT and support the 8,000 teachers and their 150,000 students during these uncertain times!
I have been going to RAFT for over 7 years and I still remember my first day I was invited to go to RAFT with a co teacher. It changed my life!! I found a place that I could let my imagination go wild. I saw bins of raw materials that would allow me to create just about anything, whether I had math, science, language or Art in mind. Then I went into the "Green Room" and this amazing person "Debbie" show me how to use the Dye cuts. Debbie was very kind and patient. She was always willing to listens to your ideas and help you create them. The staff has always been so supportive and welcoming. The prices have been extremely helpful to teachers struggling to keep their classrooms engaging. I'm so grateful to all who donate to RAFT.
As a parent, I love RAFT for what they do for the community. During the summer, RAFT housed STEAM summer program for Infinity Charter school, and my daughters had the time of their life! Not only did they have a load of fun, they had opportunities to ideate, design, create, and present their creation.
Lastly, as a teacher, Mrs. Phoung and Mr. Diaz facilitated a project design challenge for my class to get their brains warm for STEAM, in addition, we're going to venture out to RAFT in 2019 to continue our STEAM adventures and prepare our minds for our STEAM fair in addition to prepping for our Science standards for the Spring Semester.
RAFT's materials have helped City Year San Jose bring STEM education to 12 of our schools in high needs communities in East San Jose for the past 4 years. We rely on RAFT's support to reach the thousands of students that we currently do.
I love RAFT! It partnered with us to launch our pilot summer school in July. The students and parents loved the convenience of the location and the ability to use the bulk raw materials for their project prototypes was more than we could ever ask for!
I love Raft .
They have great resources for teachers . I have bought games , crafts for art , and school supplies . I am very grateful for Raft because they are a great supporter of education . They also have Stem projects that are perfect for science .
hi i would like to say that the website i used was awsome and gave me alot of information, but i didnt even get the website for RAFT. i wish i could...does anyone have RAFTs website?? so desprite...this is a school assingment... i would really appreceate the help!! by the way sorry for anything mis-spelled! i could sometimes swear i am dislexic... i think thats how you spell it...
Review from CharityNavigator
I love this place so much! It’s an excellent resource for affordable hands-on educational activities that I can do with my kids. As a homeschooler with three kids I have a very limited budget and RAFT provides great materials and engaging lessons to work with. If you’re a teacher and haven’t been to RAFT, you must go! They also have an online store that’s good for buying their kits and getting them shipped to anywhere in the world and you don’t even have to be a member! It is also a great place to volunteer and the staff is very friendly.
Review from CharityNavigator
From the very beginning of RAFT, when it was an idea in Mary Simon's wonderful brain, until today when we're working on ways to make the RAFT magic available to the entire world, I've been an enthusiastic, willing participant in everything RAFT does. I've been on the board almost since the beginning and have led two Capital Campaigns, chaired the board and supported all efforts. RAFT is one of the best nonprofits I've ever seen based on it's mission and exciting vision, plus it's creativity in executing that mission. In addition, it is managed in a fiscally responsible manner, enabling a reserve of at least a year's worth of expenses.
I'm a long-time board member of RAFT, having heard of the idea when Mary Simon first thought of starting a nonprofit that would enable teachers to use materials from community businesses to implement hands-on math, science and art projects in their classrooms. When Mary first came to me, I was running a management support organization called the Nonprofit Development Center, helping nonprofit staff and boards to improve their management and leadership skills. We at the NDC thought Mary's idea was so good that we helped her in every way we could to learn what she needed to know to run a nonprofit (Mary was a math teacher by profession). RAFT is now one of the most successful nonprofits in the San Jose area, having set its sights in expanding to reach all educators in the Bay Area, then California and finally nationally. It will happen because of one person's amazing vision and dedication to supporting and enabling excellent teachers and teaching. The beneficiaries are the children who, as we all know, are the future of the country.
For the last several years I have been involved with setting up craft projects for a Girl Scout camp. We absolutely could not provide the number or the quality of projects that we do without the materials we get from RAFT. Not only do they have great prices on craft supplies, they have unusual materials that are discards from manufacturing and they provide tools such as die-cuts and laminating. RAFT is a valuable asset to the community. They recycle unwanted items and even come up with inventive ways to use them. The employees and volunteers are very dedicated to helping teachers and students. I love RAFT!
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!
RAFT is an amazing resource for educators and I wish every community had an organization like this. They save teachers huge amounts of money in supplies, save the aggravation of trying to find and collect enough cast-offs for a project, and provide businesses an easy way to turn trash into some teachers treasure. Two recent examples: I needed working gears for a classroom of young students to experience hands-on how gears work. Looking online it would have cost hundreds of dollars to outfit the class in any commercially available gears. I attempted making them by hand at home with cardboard, following the instructions found online, and spent many frustrating hours creating TWO clumsy gears. Then I went to RAFT, where they had a die-cut that makes gears and helped me find a bin of foam material that worked in the die-cut to create a working gear...and cost $1 for a large bag. A few hours and a few dollars later, I had several hundred working gears which I can reuse for years in my classes.
RAFT is truly a great resource for people working with children. The idea sheets and prepackaged kits makes it easy to fully engage students in hands-on learning. There are all kinds of treasures for practically nothing... a gently used swivel chair for $10, 33 zippered cases that make nice pencil cases for only $1, colorful stickers for $.25 per sheet, it's endless. My students are fascinated with the silkworms RAFT gives away. The Green Room staff and diecut library are tremendously helpful. And if that isn't enough, there are Milano cookies in the vending machine and free coffee and cookies where you walk it. My teacher friends and I love RAFT!
I am a teacher who is a dreamer, a scientist, an environmentalist, an artist, a sticker collector, a book lover, etc. When I first stepped into RAFT when it was in its infancy, it was like walking into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! It has since changed the way I have taught all of the grades I have taught...preschool to sixth grade. Their workshops are hands-on, friendly, and a bargain (they give you tons of materials when you leave any workshop). On top of it all, I can't believe Mary Simon is working at the San Jose store-ready to help you understand the materials better. She, to me, is a hero and a celebrity for thinking up such a wonderful way to recycle products from companies. I think RAFT should expand all around the world. I would love to see it happen.
RAFT is not just for great stuff. They also hold terrific workshops for teachers. But my favorite is the wonderful instruction sheets they provide that show exactly how to use the recycled materials in the classroom. On top of that, they also bundle the kits in class size packages. Can't be more friendly to teachers than that. Great science and art stuff, truly great place.
Raft has allowed me to support the educational needs of my students and lets me be super creative while on a budget!
RAFT has a ton of inspirational ideas and the materials to create them. As a sub, I don't want to spend a lot of money on classroom projects, but I want to have one in my back pocket to fill slack time and reward early finishers. And, since many of the items are recycled from local businesses, it's green as well!
RAFT has given me great ideas for so many projects, from the paper tape solar system to habitability dice. It's just such a great resource for creativity in the classroom.
I am a 4th grade teacher in San Jose an visit RAFT often to buy materials from thew warehouse, get ideas for lessons, and use their production room. Because I do not receive any funds from the school for supplies to use in my classroom, RAFT saves me a lot of money by offering things like paper, craft supplies, and hands-on science kits for very little money. Every time I go there, I come out with a new idea on how to get my students more engaged in their learning. I usually leave with something I can use right away! The staff is always helpful and will give me endless ideas.
RAFT is a great place to get low cost supplies for classrooms, especially if you are a new teacher. I get extra reading books and craft supplies, as well as games and materials for math and science lessons here. It's terrific that they offer worksheets for using materials in the classroom.
As a speech therapist, I am helped constantly by the resources that RAFT provides. I am always using the materials that I find at RAFT, including stickers, magnets, and books. You can find me in the workroom, using the Elison machines and bonding with my fellow educators.
I love going to RAFT! It adds sparkle and pizazz to my classroom, and helps me have a terrific Saturday with my teacher friends. We hit the stickers first, and then roam the bins until we're ready to settle in for some excessive dye cutting. My students have fun, easy to put together projects all the time,
Wonderful organization that takes donated materials and provides them to educators for re-use in the classroom. Creative lesson ideas are also available.
I get numerous items for my class 7 volunteer work with kids. Without Rafts I do not know what I would do. They have been a life saver!!!! Also the workshops are wonderful and it gives me the opportunity to work with other teachers.
This is a really great place and helps me do hands on science for just a little money. Thanks so much!
I only started using RAFT this year, but I had heard of it a long time before I got my teaching credential. Now I go there when I need cheap supplies for projects and, especially in these big budget cut times, some basic supplies. Although you might have to hunt a little to find exactly what you want, everything is as clearly labeled as it could be, the price is worth it, and the people you meet along the way (fellow shoppers too, not just the wonderful staff) are incredibly helpful and generous of spirit. Even when I don't find *exactly* what I want, I usually discover something awesome and creative. This year, RAFT has helped supply my school with paperclips and hanging file folders, it has supplied our art department with installation pieces, and it has supplied my own history class with plenty of materials to make sundry artifacts. It is a win-win-win for educators, businesses, and the environment. I am so glad to have it in my community.
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.
Outstanding resource! I am a special needs teacher who travels more than 45 miles each way to make use of the creativity and generosity of the persons who make this resource possible. Just this last visit I was able to add a laptop to my classroom, which otherwise would never have been possible. I love the "hands on" incredibly well priced teaching tools.
This organization is wonderful. I have used the items I have obtained to help my girls (cadettes) to complete interest projects (badges). The excellent pricing policies have helped to stretch limited troop funds. You definately get your moneys' worth at RAFT!
I have taken many workshops over the years but the workshops that I took this summer: weaving, nature journals, and innovation were fun, stimulating and helped me go back to school with exciting new ideas!
This is your one stop shop for ideas and supplies to make your teaching more hands-on. The ladies in the green room are wonderful at helping you get your ideas from concept to fruition.
I go to RAFT for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sunday School, youth religious class and for a hands-on science class There are always so many new materials and ideas available. And if I do purchase something, try it out and it's not a great success with the students, I am out only a few dollars. The staff and classes are so informative and helpful. Can't say enough good things about RAFT. Thanks to everyone who works there and to the people and corporations who donate to RAFT!
What a great place to get project ideas (plus the materials for them). Enough new items come in to keep things fresh. Definitely worth the membership and the drive there.
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!
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!
I love RAFT, and go there at least twice a month (even though it's at least an hour/60 mile drive for me). The workshops I have taken over the past 6 years have made me a much better teacher. I have a wide collection of hands-on activities and lessons to bring to my students on a wide range of subjects and levels. I recommend going to RAFT to all of my teaching acquaintances. I also buy an amazing amount of materials to share with my students (Title 1)-- they love it! The kits really help me teach. And the fun, creative objects (I don't know what to call the wide range of things that you can get at RAFT) have broadened my teaching and creativity....Also, I'm in love with the incredibly-priced Klutz books! What a treat! What a privilege!
I have been a member of RAFT for at least 10 years and find it a fantastic resource for all the youth organizations I'm involved with. Great teacher lesson idea sheets, classes & kits. Most effective resource to stretch a limit public school budget. The variety of supplies is excellent and constantly updated with new items. Newsletter email announcements keep us informed on the latest info. I recommend anyone involved in a nonprofit group take the time to visit RAFT, its worth your time.
I am proud to be on the board of RAFT. This is a great organization that really improves the quality of teaching and learing.
RAFT makes an active and tangible difference in the quality of our children's education. I am so proud to be able to support and endorse them!
RAFT offers incredible bargains for teachers. The thing I like best about it is that they have created activities and lessons for teachers and packaged up all the materials and instructions ahead of time. They have great ideas and great bargains. The people are very friendly, outgoing and helpful. I drove a long distance to come here and would come back again.
I have been coming to RAFT for a few years. It has saved me hundreds of dollars. I would be lost without it. The stickers are the best in the area.
As a first time visitor to RAFT, I have found a wealth of resources that will make our classroom learning environment more dynamic. The pre-packaged science kits are user friendly. Also there is a wealth of KLUTZ art books that give crafty ideas to run with. Overall, I can see myself coming back time and again.
Excellent materials, well-organized, great hours, helpful staff, and wonderful prices. I appreciate RAFT and the opportunities it affords me to present to my students.
Wonderful resources for teachers to get ideas to use recyclables. Great prices for teachers to use materials for all areas of learning and all ages.