FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
English isn't my first language - can I still join?
Message is open to English-speaking parents of all nationalities. Our members come from the UK, the US, France, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, South Africa, India, Singapore and Russia, to name a few! Over 60 countries are represented in Message and in addition to English, we speak over 20 other different languages. Within Message, you'll also find groups and events where members get together to speak their native languages or celebrate special cultural holidays.
Will I be required to volunteer if I join Message?
There is no requirement to volunteer, though as we operate with no paid staff, we encourage everyone to get more involved with Message at some point. We have a range of opportunities available, no matter your availability or skill set. You can volunteer from home, or help out at an event like the AGM or Bring & Buy. You can volunteer for a couple of hours a month, or gain serious experience being on the board of a non-profit by joining the Executive Committee (ExCom). From smaller time-level commitments to more robust responsibilities, volunteering is a wonderful way to meet others and develop new skills. Message wouldn't exist without our wonderful volunteers!
I've been living in France for 10 years. Is it too late to join?
It's never too late to join Message! No matter what stage you are in your parenting journey, Message can enrich your life - whether it is community you seek, or parenting advice, volunteering opportunities, specific support, networking or access to a wide variety of resources for all of your family needs. From baby groups to navigating university and beyond, the Message community is here for you.
Isn't Message just for babies and toddlers?
While it's true that Message offers an amazing variety of resources for expectant parents, babies and toddlers, Message is in it for the long haul. We want to support our members at every step of their journey through parenthood! We have an ever-evolving list of groups and activities for bigger kids, tweens & teens - a weekly radio show, Halloween and Easter parties and more. Parents of older children also share their experiences of choosing colleges and universities, and raising teenagers in the 'Parenting Kids Over 16' Group, through the online discussion forum and via organized activities.
I work full-time. Which Message activities would I be able to participate in?
There is a variety of activities scheduled each month for you. In the evenings, parents can attend Message Talks by guest speakers, join us for dinners out in a restaurant, or come to meet ups in members' homes. During the weekend, we have activities for the whole family. Our online, members-only discussion forums are open 24/7 and the wide range of support services are available via email. There are even regular lunch dates or co-working events for working parents in different parts of Paris. Be sure to sign up with the Working Parents Group and/or Entrepreneurs Group when you join!
I don't have any "problems" being a parent - why would I need a "Support Group"?
It's Dad who is the English-speaker in our family. Can he join?
Will Message help my children learn English?
Will Message help me find an English-speaking nanny for my child?
Message does not, as an organisation, provide a formal register of nannies or sitters. However, our members-only website has a conversation thread devoted to members seeking or recommending carers, and the discussion forums provide an area for exchanging experiences on all types of childcare (crèches, halte-garderies, public and private French and bilingual schools).
I'll be moving to France in a few months - can I join before I get there?
I live abroad, but come to Paris each summer with my children. Can I join?
A Message membership lasts for one year from the date that you sign up. For any other circumstances, we encourage you to contact our President,
Are Message members mostly expats on short contracts, or stay-at-home parents?
Our members are just like you. They stay at home, they're volunteers, they're salaried employees, they're entrepreneurs, they're here on short contracts, they're married to locals, or they're locals themselves. Our members represent the full spectrum of parenting, so you'll be sure to find an activity, event, contact or group that works for you. Message holds activities in the evenings and at weekends, as well as on weekdays and includes an active "lifers" group made up of members who are here for the long haul, as well as former members who still contribute to the community even after they've left France.
I live in the East of Paris. Do you have a group in my area?
If you live anywhere in Paris, or the surrounding suburbs, it is highly likely that other Message members live very close to you. Message splits the membership into 18 different Areas for administrative purposes, but no matter where you live, you are not limited to activities in your own Area - you're welcome to attend any activity, anywhere.
I'm a single parent. Would I fit in at Message?
Of course! In fact, Message has an active Single Parent Group, to help members connect with one another about the specificities that this situation can bring.
Where is Message's headquarters / meeting place?
Message has no central office, and no paid staff. The association in entirely volunteer-run, with all social activities held in members' homes or in rented halls for larger meetings, with many outside activities during good weather, in parks or at museums.
Can my child's nanny / grandmother bring him / her to Message activities?
In most cases, Yes, as long as you, the parent or guardian, are a member of Message and have authorised your child to be accompanied by another, English-speaking person. Attendance is at the discretion of the host, and we do ask you to confirm with them in advance.
What types of activities are organised by Message?
Regular activities and meetups are scheduled by members at their own initiative. Members are free to organise activities and outings that are appropriate for the ages of their children or their own interests. Examples of recent activities include: a morning in a member's home for expectant members; an afternoon with toddlers in a local park; a playdate introducing 5-7 year olds to chess; a Message Talk on bilingualism and language development; a group Pilates session hosted at a member’s home; a lunch for working parents to exchange tips on balancing home and work life; a gathering for a language exchange (currently available in French, Italian, Spanish... and growing!). Message has organisation-wide events as well, including an annual summer picnic, Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Trick or Treat, our famous Bring & Buy, and a Holiday Party complete with a visit from Santa.
How can I advertise my product or service to Message members?
I forgot my user name and/or password, how can I login?
Use the password reset page and if you are unsuccessful we are happy to help! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I used to be a Message member, how can I rejoin?
Welcome back! Try logging in with your previous user name and password, and you'll automatically be directed to the renewals page. If you've forgotten your user name and/or password, hit the "Forgotten Your Password?" link and enter your email address. A new password will be emailed to you. If your email address is not recognised, please send an email to email@example.com and we'll send you everything you need to re-join.
I'd like to join Message but can't afford it financially. What options are available to me?
The purpose of Message is to offer support, advice and information to English-speaking parents regardless of socio-economic status. Message offers subsidised memberships to anyone who could benefit from all the services and resources on offer but for whom the cost is a prohibitive factor. To request a subsidised membership please send an email to our President at firstname.lastname@example.org"
I will be in Paris next month on vacation. Can Message help me find a babysitter, a doctor for emergency care, and a crib rental for use during my stay?
Many of these topics are covered in the Message publication: ABCs of Parenting in Paris. We invite you to purchase a copy to use as a general reference during your stay. As Message is an entirely volunteer-run organisation, we do not have the capacity to individually answer phone calls and emails dealing with these types of information requests from non-members.
Message takes the protection of your data seriously. Our aim is to provide a personalised and valuable service while safeguarding our users’ privacy. Collecting some personal information is necessary if we are to satisfy the expectations and requirements of our users and we have set out here what we will do with your personal information.