Peptoc, a free hotline you can call for encouraging words from a group of kindergartners, stems from a classroom project out of West Side Elementary, a small school in the town of Healdsburg, California.
Teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss were inspired by their students’ positive attitudes despite all they have been through during a pandemic, wildfires, and everyday kid life.
Martin said she spoke to her class about the idea of art as a kind of social practice, a conversation to contribute to the world — and something we can all learn from.
“I thought, you know, with this world being as it is, we all really needed to hear from them — their extraordinary advice and their continual joy,” she said.
If you're feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5.
Martin says she hopes the hotline will give callers a little respite from whatever it is they’re going through, which — judging from the thousands of calls the hotline gets each day — is quite a lot.
Two days after launching the hotline on Feb. 26, she said they were up to 700 callers per hour.
So 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 that any surplus funds will go toward the school’s enrichment programs.