Picking a Tutor – My family’s experience (part 4/4)

Amanda always shows up to tutor Ari wearing a big smile. Her laugh is contagious and her warmth draws Ari in; her firmness keeps him at the table! Ari’s tutoring is progressing really well – he’s happy and engaged – and I thought it might be fun to better get to know the lady responsible for helping him ace his spelling tests:

Amanda is 25. In addition to tutoring with Base Camp, a decision she says was “a no-brainer,” Amanda is also a teacher, actor and stage manager. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 17, she is an ambassador for the MS Society and actively involved in forums, fundraising and campaigns to raise awareness and money.

“The age of onset is now 20 to 30 years old,” says Amanda, who has a tattoo on her leg of a severed nerve to help explain MS to others. “Nobody knew what MS was or believed I was old enough to have it. That’s why I talk about it a lot. If you hide it, it becomes more than it is. I want to normalize all kinds of abilities.”

Amanda says the key to living with MS is staying active. She is constantly on the go, acting in plays, giving speeches on behalf of the MS society and tutoring with Base Camp. Her favourite part about tutoring is that it’s fun. “It’s great to provide extra support to kids. You get to do things with them you can’t do in a regular classroom setting. I love that I can make learning fun and interesting for kids and I can help spark a love for reading.”

She has definitely done this for Ari, and has made all her lessons revolve around baseball, his favourite sport. They practice sounding out words, reading books about baseball and writing baseball cards. He looks forward to her visits every week.

Amanda’s favourite books as a child were anything by Ronald Dahl and JD Salinger. Leonard Cohen has been her favourite poet since high school and she thinks Shel Silverstein is an amazing resource for poetry for all ages but for kids especially. Amanda also loves baseball (a perfect match for my son), chocolate pudding, going to the theatre and hanging out with her boyfriend and her cat. “Wait a second . . . does the part about my cat make me sound like a loser,” she laughs.

She is actually one of the coolest people I know.

-Erin, Toronto mom