1,031 educators came to RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) for its annual Back to School Events in San Jose and Redwood City to prepare for the new school year. Before the first bell rings, teachers look for ways to replenish their classrooms while minding tight budgets and curriculum changes.

Teachers fill carts and arms with supplies for the year

Teachers loaded carts with their most-wanted items, including school supplies like pencils and paper, art materials, classroom furniture, books, and RAFT Hands-on Activity Kits. RAFT leverages corporate donations of supplies, manufacturing byproducts, and even technology to provide these items and more to educators at affordable prices. Using commonly-found materials and volunteer support, RAFT also creates hands-on Activity Kits aligned with the Common Core State Standards to assist educators in bringing engaging math, science, and technology lessons to their classrooms. Kits sold at the events averaged a kit in every cart, so many students will benefit from hands-on learning this year.

“Preparing for another school year always includes a visit (or multiple visits) to RAFT,” explained Elizabeth Pombo, a kindergarten teacher in San Jose. “Standing in line at the Back to School Event is honestly a highlight! There we are – eager educators, sharing new ideas after a summer off. Then the doors open and we rush in for the great deals, new kits, and old favorite standby items.”

RAFT_BTSE_2013 (21)

Popular items included school
supplies, books, and furniture

More than 400 volunteers dedicated their time in service to Bay Area teachers at these events, which attracted RAFT’s largest crowds of the year. Prior to the two Back to School Events, volunteers built educational activity kits, sorted donated materials, and replenished RAFT’s shelves. During the event, helpers loaded furniture, bagged supplies, and distributed refreshments to the crowds of educators and their guests.

“I give my time to support RAFT because I’ve seen firsthand the value this organization provides for teachers,” said Leela Kumar, volunteer at the San Jose Back to School Event. “I know teachers who have utilized RAFT resources for years to enhance their high school science classes and I’m proud to show my support for them and all teachers.”

A rousing kick off to the back-to-school season, RAFT’s Back to School Events mark the beginning of a high-demand period for the non-profit organization, which relies heavily on the donations of excess office supplies, manufacturing discards, and technology to meet the needs of educators.


To see photos from the events, visit RAFT on Flickr.



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