Depression and anxiety have skyrocketed over the last few years. Between the pandemic, inflation, etc., we all could use encouraging pep talks now and then. Now, you can! People can call a new hotline and receive encouraging words from a group of students, including kindergartners.
If you’re feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press 1. Press 2 if you need words of encouragement and life advice. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. Callers are prompted to press 4 if they need to hear kids laughing with delight. Pres 5 if you need encouragement in Spanish.
Once a caller presses 3, a chorus of kids sounds off a series of uplifting mantras:
“Be grateful for yourself,” offers one student.
“If you’re feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs,” another chime in.
“Bro, you’re looking great.”
About The Peptoc Hotline
The Peptoc hotline is a free service and started as a project for the students of West Side Elementary. In addition, it was put together with the help of teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss. Martin, who teaches the arts program at the school, says she was inspired by her students’ positive attitudes, despite all they’ve been through — the pandemic, wildfires in the region, and just the everyday challenges of being a kid.
“I thought, you know, with this world as it is, we all needed to hear from them — their extraordinary advice and their continual joy,” she said.
Martin spoke to her class about art as a social practice, a conversation to contribute to the world. “Their creativity and resourcefulness is something that we need to emulate because that level of joy and love and imagination is what’s going to save us in the end,” she said.
The hope is that no matter what someone is going through, they will receive a little joy. Two days after the hotline launch, they received 700 callers per hour. “That this went viral is a testament that we all still have a lot of healing to do,” she said. “And you know, with the current situation in Ukraine and all of the other terrors and sadness that we all carry, it’s really important that we continue to hold this light.”
The next time you need a little boost, dial Peptoc at (707)998-8410. To help support the program’s hotline fees, you can click here to donate. Martin said surplus funds would go toward the school’s enrichment programs.