Frequently Asked Questions
There is no requirement to volunteer, although as an all-volunteer organisation, we encourage everyone to take part volunteering at some point. The volunteer opportunities range from very small time-level commitments, to more robust responsibilities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the organisation and to meet others, and apply or develop skills. Message wouldn't exist without volunteers.
Message is open to English-speaking parents of all nationalities. The current membership is comprised of about one-third British, one-third North American, and one-third "other nationalities", including members from Ireland, Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, and other countries.
No. Roughly 60% of our membership report working outside of the home, in salaried employment or running their own businesses. Message tries to cater for everyone's schedules, planning activities in the evenings and at weekends, as well as on weekdays.
Even if you've lived in France for a long while, perhaps you are a new parent and would like to discover the wealth of resources available for babies and children in and around Paris. Or perhaps, as your family grows your Anglophone roots take hold and you'd like your children to know other bilingual families. Either way, Message can be of help. In fact, many of our members have been in France for years, and plan to live here forever.
The average Message "child" is 7 years old! While Message does offer many resources for pregnant mums, and opportunities for parents with babies and toddlers to get-together, there are also active groups for little kids, primary school kids, and tweens & teens. Parents of older children also share their experiences of raising pre-adolescents and teenagers in the Kids Growing Older Group, through the online discussion forum and via organized activities.
There are a wide variety of activities scheduled each month in the evenings, for parents (guest speakers, dinner dates in a restaurant, or coffee & dessert in members' homes) or during the weekend, for families, (in homes, parks or museums for instance). The 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 for working parents in different parts of Paris. Be sure to join the Working Parents Group when you join!
Message provides a wide variety of parent-to-parent support services, which may include recommendations on where to find a medical specialist, sharing personal experiences around a particular health issue, or giving practical help where needed. Other issues may include serious illness, divorce, or bereavement. While most members are happy to take advantage of the more social benefits of belonging to Message, it's good to know that the support network is there - if you need it.
Dads, come on in! We have a growing membership of both working and stay-at-home Dads and are always looking for new ways to get fathers together. If you're an English-speaking father, join Message and get involved.
If you are actively bringing your children up as English-speakers, Message activities may help provide extra exposure to English as a complement to your other activities in English (e.g., speaking English in the home, bilingual schooling, English books, television, radio, etc). Message does not provide English instruction, however, other members may be able to recommend more formal English classes for your bilingual children.
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-garderie, public and private French and bilingual schools).
Yes. If you are pregnant, or planning a move with children, then Message can certainly help you plan for your stay in Paris, and by keeping in touch with other members through the discussion forums, you may even make friends who will be waiting for you when you arrive.
Membership of Message is usually obtained for the calendar year. Exceptional cases are at the discretion of the President and the Treasurer and will depend on each situation.
Not necessarily. Some are, but many (or even most) are not. One of the best things about Message is that you develop friendships with other parents, some of which last a few weeks, or months, others that last a lifetime. Interestingly, Message also has members who left France and remain members as they wish to remain in contact.
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, and it is more likely that you will come across people who live close to you than those who don't. But wherever you live, you are not limited to activities in your own Area, but welcome to attend any, anywhere.
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.
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.
All Message activities and events are in English.
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.
Members are free to organise activities and outings that are appropriate for the ages of their children or their own parenting interests. These might include: a morning in a member's home for pregnant members to discuss health during pregnancy; an afternoon with toddlers in a local park; a structured morning's activity with 5-7 year olds making a family tree; an evening with a guest speaker on bilingualism and language development; a lunch-date for working parents to exchange tips on balancing home & work life.
As a general rule, we are conservative about advertising and try to keep Message commercial-free. However, Message provides a variety of advertising opportunities for reaching the membership. As a non-member, you are invited to contact our Ads Coordinator (see contacts page), who will be able to advise you on rates for paid display and classified ads in the Message Quarterly Magazine. Message members may post limited classified ads on the members' only website, in accordance with the Advertising Policy. Please note that Message will only accept advertising which it deems to be of interest and appropriate to our members.
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?" button and enter your email address. A new password will be e-mailed to you. If your email address is not recognized, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll arrange for you to re-join.
The purpose of Message is to offer support, advice and information to English-speaking parents regardless of socio-economic status. Message offers a limited number of subsidized memberships to people who could benefit from Message, but for whom cost is a significant issue. For subsidized membership please go to the contact page and select 'I want to apply for a subsidized membership' from the drop-down menu.
. 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.