Martin Luther King Jr. Day –United Way volunteers honor this day of service at RAFT

Jan 16th, San Jose, CA – On a day when schools were closed to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., nearly 100 volunteers joined United Way Silicon Valley and Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) to make the holiday a “day on” instead of a “day off” by working to improve local education and lending their support to local educators.

As part of this nationally recognized King Day of Service, local volunteers assembled hands-on Activity Kits and other materials that teachers can use in the classroom to create valuable learning opportunities.

“We are partnering with RAFT today because education is a fundamental building block to a successful life,” said Carole Leigh Hutton, president and CEO of United Way Silicon Valley. “Helping teachers enrich the classroom experience supports United Way’s goals of growing self-sufficient and financially stable families and reducing the ethnic-racial achievement gap in our schools.”

RAFT provides innovative project ideas, and materials to support the idea sheets, hands-on learning Activity Kits, professional development and mentoring to in school and out of school educators.

“We are pleased to work with United Way and our community volunteers on Martin Luther King Day. RAFT transforms teaching through the use of engaging hands-on educational activities that inspire the joy and discovery of learning. Volunteers have been the backbone of RAFT helping us assemble over 50,000 hands-on Activity Kits a year and last year we had over 8,000 volunteers providing their support to educators and students across the Bay Area,” said Mary Simon, Executive Director of RAFT.

On this Day of Service, RAFT also honored two Bay Area educators with the Hands-On Recognition Awards. Ann Shioji a high school integrated Science teacher and Anna Pollock, a physician who changed careers to become an elementary teacher, were recognized for their creative and outstanding work using hands-on activities to engage their students. As Hands-On Recognition Award winners, each will receive two years of free RAFT membership and $100 worth of RAFT Gift Cards. For more information about the Hands-On Award program, go to

About Martin Luther King Day of service

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service. On the third Monday of every January, volunteers across America work together to solve local problems.
Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen local communities and achieve common goals. He believed service could empower individuals by lifting them up and giving them the power to improve their own lives as well as the lives of others.

About United Way
United Way Silicon Valley works to improve financial stability for local families, and a good early education can help lead a decent wage later in life. To ensure than children have access to quality early learning opportunities, United Way partners with parents, community-based organizations, and schools.  For example, United Way’s Early Literacy Program pairs adult volunteers with kindergartners to help them with reading and early literacy skills. United Way’s High School Mentoring program provides mentoring and tutoring to at-risk students who are part of Breakthrough Silicon Valley.
For more information about United Way Silicon Valley, visit

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