"I would maybe put a challenge out to business professionals in this town—young professionals, old professionals—to see if they can give back to their community in a way," Love says.
Love would harness Santa Feans' desire to "advertise" their civic-mindedness by involving businesses, offering the carrot that they could tout their good works and influence others to do the same.
"Shopping locally has become this brand that shows a business is worthy to send your money to—if they source their food locally," Love notes. "We could establish a system so you walk into a business and they have a sign: 'We volunteer in Santa Fe Public Schools.'"
If more kids could read at grade level (as a sixth-grade teacher, Love sees kids with reading abilities that range from kindergarten to seventh-grade levels), test scores would improve—which, in turn, would help the district's reputation. Right now, people in the community routinely blame teachers for the poor scores, prompting parents to put their kids in private school if they can, or to move to a district with a better reputation, like Rio Rancho.
"There are a ton of affluent people in Santa Fe, a ton of people who have time and extra money, a ton of people who are intelligent," Love says. "You could pick up the phone and call a school site and say, 'Is there a kid I can be reading buddy to?'"
"Just come in one day a week. Just read to a kid," Love says. "It's so important."
Santa Fe Reporter