About Leonora

Leonora Dodge candidate Vermont House Chittenden-23

VOLUNTEER, MOM, EDUCATOR

I am a proud Latina born in the United States to immigrant parents from Mexico and Ireland. I spent much of my childhood in Montreal and Mexico, attending school in French and Spanish, until I moved to Massachusetts on a scholarship to study at Williams College. My husband, Will, and I got married the month after college graduation, and went to live in Mexico, where I had a one-year Fulbright scholarship to study history. We got our graduate degrees at UT-Austin, then moved to Burlington for Will to work at a law firm.

We moved with our young kids to Essex in 2010, thrilled with our neighborhood and a great school district. Our children went through the Essex Westford school system; one is a rising Junior at Essex High School and our Senior is soon off to college in Chicago. My father and my in-laws live in Montreal. I am also lucky to be a caregiver to my mom, who was finally able to immigrate to this country once the Affordable Care Act enabled us to buy her health insurance, given her age and a pre-existing condition.

 Will and I feel very fortunate to have had the choice to call Vermont home. I have tried to give back to this brave little state in several ways, working and volunteering with every age group and many diverse populations. When we moved here, I joined the non-profit HomeShare Vermont as an AmeriCorps member and then got hired as a coordinator. I helped seniors and people with disabilities who needed assistance at home, matching them with young people seeking caregiving opportunities or affordable housing. Once I had my babies, it was important to me and Will that they speak Spanish and feel proud of their roots. For several years, I ran several weekly playgroups in Spanish in Burlington-area preschool spaces through Building Bright Futures. I also coordinated dozens of volunteers and organized all the children’s activities for the annual Burlington Latino Waterfront Festival. In Essex, I have taught Four Winds, coached Odyssey of the Mind, and developed the yearly Essex-Westford International Potluck nights that brought together hundreds of families, Essex restaurants, and wonderful performers to celebrate the diversity in our community. I have worked as a teacher for several years, as well: I taught Spanish at Vermont Commons High School and at Champlain College, and now I am a para-educator and classroom assistant at Jericho Elementary School’s K-4 Spanish Immersion program. I have also taught fun and inclusive multi-age Zumba® classes for many years and fundraised thousands of dollars through Zumbathons® for COTS, Steps to End Domestic Violence, the S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Fund, and many other worthy causes.