A teacher’s paradise lives in RiNo. The Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) contains all the colored paper, glitter, idea sheets, glue, binders, and education ephemera that you can imagine. And it’s the only one like it for more than a thousand miles.

Starting in 2009, RAFT became the third warehouse of its kind in the country—you’ll have to travel to California for the other two—to offer ideas, materials, and professional development for Colorado teachers at huge discounts. The warehouse contains the usual educational materials—binders, glue, paper rolls, and more. But it specializes in recycling old items that might end up in a Dumpster into educational resources. Take the “Do Not Disturb” hotel door signs, for example. Although those cutout dots—where door handles would go—could get lost in a landfill, RAFT turns them into fraction-learning tools.

RAFT also creates kit ideas for many subject areas, providing hands-on activities that help children learn in new ways.

“It’s exciting for teachers to come in here and learn new stuff and not get something that goes in a binder and sits on a shelf,” says RAFT’s executive director Stephanie Welsh.

Get Involved: Bring your old CDs and wine corks to RAFT the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If your company is cleaning out the office, contact RAFT at 720-242-8833 to see what they need or check out their website, which lists needed materials. You can also sign up as a volunteer to put kits together, organize materials, clean the warehouse, and more.

—Image courtesy of RAFT.