As the only organization of its kind in Colorado, RAFT’s new location provides a valuable space for educators to find hands-on, interactive resources for their classrooms.
DENVER – July 24, 2014 – Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) Colorado recently celebrated its grand reopening in a vibrant northeast Denver warehouse located at 3827 Steele Street. With a specific focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), RAFT provides Colorado teachers with affordable, unusual resources to transform their classrooms into hands-on learning environments. Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia and Carrie Morgridge with the Morgridge Family Foundation delivered remarks at the grand reopening event.
For the past five years, RAFT was located in a warehouse in Denver’s River North Art District. The organization’s new location on Steele Street will allow it to continue to support hundreds of Colorado teachers each year by offering a collaborative space and resources to improve students’ critical thinking skills. The warehouse features 29,000 square feet of store and professional development space.
RAFT gathers unwanted items ranging from VHS tapes and CDs to staple removers and water bottles and converts them into innovative learning activities for teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans. These materials are frequently donated by businesses, other nonprofit organizations and individuals. To date, RAFT has diverted well over 100,000 cubic feet of waste from landfills in Colorado.
RAFT is one of only three warehouses of its kind in the country and the only one located in Colorado. It’s estimated that teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money every year on classroom materials. At RAFT, teachers are able to purchase unique items at costs 80-90 percent less than retail prices. The organization also offers activity kits, personal coaching, practical workshops and education institutes to help teachers incorporate hands-on learning activities that are in line with Colorado content standards.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be re-open for business,” said Stephanie Welsh, executive director of RAFT Colorado. “RAFT has always been more than just a warehouse of educational materials. What we do helps transform classrooms into innovative spaces that inspire student growth and achievement. Our new location will help us serve more educators, become an even greater hub of creative educational activities and provide a home for STEM professional development opportunities.”
Close to one third of RAFT’s annual income comes from membership dues, professional development and sales of materials and activity kits. Additional support is provided by the Morgridge Family Foundation, grant funding, personal donations and individual and corporate volunteer programs. Anyone who is considered an educator – public, private and preschool teachers; licensed child care providers; and nonprofit community service groups such as Boy/Girl Scouts, libraries, summer camps and after school programs – can join RAFT as a member.
For more information on RAFT, including membership, donation and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.RAFTCOLORADO.org.
RAFT Colorado Fast Facts:
3827 Steele Street, Unit C
Denver, CO 80205
Hours of operation:
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Children welcome on Wednesdays