Hope Services’ participants volunteering at RAFT

July 16, 2015 – Hope Services volunteer at Resource Area for Teaching to help improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT), the San Jose-based nonprofit organization committed to hands-on learning, has long focused on supporting teaching the way all students learn best. In doing so, RAFT has attracted the attention of non-profit organizations with similar goals. Hope Services, the San-Jose headquartered non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities, has teamed up with RAFT to give back to their community and support learners who have special needs, in the way they learn best, and using a hands-on approach.

Hope Services’ participants volunteer at RAFT on a weekly basis – assembling hands-on learning kits, helping in the retail space, and learning real-life lessons about workplace environments.

“I like working at RAFT because of the challenging jobs and the team effort that goes into everything we do,” says Karen Treat, a Hope Services’ member and RAFT volunteer for three years.

Working together and collaborating on assignments simulates a real work environment that helps persons with disabilities demonstrate essential 21st century skills, such as time management and cultivating coworker relationships. Work experience is essential, as people with developmental disabilities have an 87% unemployment rate in California.

“In the five years that I’ve been assisting our groups at RAFT, I’ve seen our members’ confidence blossom so much. They really feel like they’re helping out the community. And it’s really important that we help everyone to see that people with disabilities can be real assets to the community if they’re just given the opportunity,” says Jane Chin, Community Access Network Support Facilitator with Hope Services.

RAFT was founded by a former teacher who observed children learning math and science concepts and noticed a pattern of greater understanding when students had a hands-on activity to deepen the learning experience. Volunteers, such as Hope Services, helped engineer RAFT’s kits as an evolution in hands-on teaching ideas. Now, RAFT has more than 100 different kits available to educators at its resource center and online store, and has provided nearly 500,000 student hands-on learning experiences.

About Resource Area For Teaching
RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at

About Hope Services
Hope Services is the leading provider of services to people with developmental disabilities in Silicon Valley. Hope’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. Hope serves more than 3,500 people and their families in six counties, providing a broad spectrum of services for infants through seniors including day programs, staffing, mental health, community living, children’s and senior services. Learn more at Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook/ and Twitter at @HOPE_Services.