Feeling a little overwhelmed by the war in Ukraine, two years of the pandemic and gun violence? The kids at West Side Elementary School in Healdsburg, California, are here to help. Jessica Martin, a local artist who doubles as an art teacher at the tiny rural school, came up with the idea of offering free pep talks for anyone and everyone. It’s now open to the public and so far, the “Peptoc Hotline” is a big hit.
Martin expected the project to lift some spirits in their community, but in less than a week, it’s gone viral and she says it's getting as many as 5-thousand calls a day. The name “Peptoc Hotline” came from Martin’s six-year-old son, who she asked to create a flyer to advertise the hotline. She left the creativity up to him, only telling him the name should be “Peptalk,” but he mistakenly spelled it as “Peptoc” and she loved it’s honesty and accidental reference to TikTok, so his name stuck.
If you call the Peptoc Hotline at (707) 998-8410, you’ll hear positive and encouraging mantras from students at the school designed to help boost your mood during these trying times. All the recordings feature the kids, in their own voices. Options include:
- If you’re feeling “mad, frustrated or nervous” - One child’s message says, “If you’re frustrated, you can always go to your bedroom and punch a pillow or cry on it.” And another suggests, “If you’re nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes.”
- For those who need “words of encouragement and life advice” - One student suggests, “If you’re feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs.”
- “Pep talk from kindergartners” - This recording is a group of youngsters cheering in unison, “You can do it!” and “Keep trying, don’t give up!”
- And there’s one option that leads to a five-second loop of nothing but kids laughter.