No matter how many years or decades we have been at INTL*, all of us were once new to the community. We can all recall the feelings of excitement and promise that come with being a new INTL parent. But we also probably remember feeling anxious, and having a long list of questions about starting out at INTL.
We began INTL’s Red Carpet program over a decade ago, to give new parents the chance to get all their questions answered by veteran INTL families who were once in their same shoes. We named the program “Red Carpet” because to us, every new parent is a superstar. There is nothing we enjoy more than “rolling out the red carpet” to warmly and enthusiastically welcome new families to the community.
The Red Carpet program thoughtfully pairs each new mentee family with an INTL mentor family, giving them the perfect sounding board for all their concerns. Of course, our teachers and administration are always more than willing to answer all our new parents’ questions, but Red Carpet provides a special peer-to-peer relationship, in a casual environment, where there truly are no “stupid questions.”
Each year, our Advancement and Admissions team get together to find the perfect mentor family for each incoming mentee family. It is a careful, multilayered matching process that takes into account several different factors, including the career/educational background, family/cultural background, and personal interests of each family. Our goal is to make sure our mentor and mentee families have something in common before they even meet!
INTL parents hail from countries all over the world, but Red Carpet always reminds me that we have more in common than we know. Countless times, matched families have discovered special connections I could never anticipate. For example, one mentor family was delighted to discover that their mentee family was from the exact same city in the South of France, and that some of them had even attended the same school growing up.
The Red Carpet mentoring program has a history of introducing people who go on to form life-long friendships. Fostering these connections in our community is one of the most joyful, and satisfying parts of my job.
In addition to being helpful for new parents, Red Carpet is also an incredibly enjoyable experience. It is a casual, fun evening at an INTL parent’s home, and children are encouraged to attend. While parents get acquainted, children excitedly run and play, making their own new friends. Children whose families were mentees the year before have been known to enthusiastically lobby their parents to become mentor families, so they can return for another fun Red Carpet evening. In fact, so many families enjoy being mentors that we always have more requests to be mentors than we have mentee families to match them with.
This year’s fall Red Carpet event will take place on Friday, September 12, at 6pm at the Garg home. I encourage all new families to take advantage of the Red Carpet program. In addition to a fun, informative night, you, your spouse, or your child may even end up meeting a new best friend!
Please do not hesitate to email me at patricia@INTL.org with any questions you may have.
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.