Check Out This Adorable New Hotline With Words of Affirmation From Kindergartners

A group of creative kindergartners in California has created a public art project called Peptoc to help everyone in the world feel a little bit better.

Black boy on phone
Photo: Getty

If it seems that the news cycles have been particularly heavy lately, you're not alone. The world can get itself wound up in some frightening and stressful ways, and, for many folks, the best solution is to shut off gadgets and take a break. But there's a group of wonderfully creative kids in California who would like you to consider calling them when your stress levels get too high.

Kindergartners at West Side Elementary, a small school in Healdsburg, California, a small town of 11 thousand residents in the middle of Wine Country, have created Peptoc, a hotline for anyone who needs a good old-fashioned pep talk to feel better about themselves and the world around them. The misspelled name adds to this terrific project's delightful and energized feel, run by kids.

The project started in early February when West Side kindergartners recorded themselves giggling and laughing during an art class. You can hear that recording when you press four on the hotline, and it is wildly contagious. Two teachers, Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss helped guide students through creating Peptoc, a public art project that aims to spread love and kindness.

"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," Martin told NPR. The local community spread flyers and used word of mouth to get the project launched, helping it to gain national attention.

"That this went viral is really a testament that we all still have a lot of healing to do," Martin told NPR. "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."

"If you're feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press one," a sweet voice says. "If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press two. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press three. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press four. For encouragement in Spanish, press five."

I gathered my own kids, ages 4, 8, and 12, around the speakerphone, and we tried each of the four options. The hotline has attracted more than 700 callers an hour since it launched two weeks ago, and after listening to all the options, I can see why.

"When you get mad, take three breaths and think of things that make you happy," a sweet voice says in option one. A moment later, another kid adds, "when you're feeling frustrated, you can always go to your room and punch a pillow and cry on it." That's pretty good advice!

Pressing number two will send you to life advice where kids have some wildly accurate and hilarious wisdom for young and old.

"Be grateful for yourself," one child says. "I trust that you can make things right," another kid adds. But I think it was these two pieces of wisdom that will stick with me; "If you're feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs!" And finally, "If you're nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes!"

If you want a pep talk from kindergartners, press three where you can hear what sounds like the whole class of kids yelling, "YOU CAN DO IT!" in unison.

But my personal favorite is option four, where you can listen to the best belly laughs and contagious giggling that is sure to brighten your day. My kids and I chose this option until we were red in the face from laughing too.

There are too many reasons to let a day get you down, but trust me when I tell you that the kids at West Side Elementary are here to turn that frown upside down and make your heart feel just a little better.

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