Try Ringing the Peptoc Hotline to Lift Your Mood

A Peptoc Hotline poster drawn by elementary students.

The latest way to get out of a funk? Get a pep talk from some elementary students! (Image via Jessica Martin)

The latest way to get out of a funk? Get a pep talk on the Peptoc Hotline from some elementary students!

There is a new telephone hotline that everyone seems to be talking about lately, and it’s one that’s sure to bring a smile to your face. The Peptoc Hotline is a telephone line that features recordings of elementary school students giving words of encouragement and advice. And the best part? It’s completely free!

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The creation of the hotline was the second part of a project thought up by art teacher Jessica Martin, who had the students at West Side School in Healdsburg, California, make flyers with messages of encouragement. The flyers were then posted in grocery stores and on telephone poles around the community and carried messages such as: “You are not the only one who wants to sigh loudly. It is OK to feel sad.”

A female elementary student hangs a pink flyer on a telephone pole.
The students made flyers with messages of encouragement and posted them around the community. (Image via Jessica Martin)

Martin said she remembered calling a hotline as a child to get the time and date along with a hotline you could call that played hit songs from Hall & Oates from the 1970s and 1980s. She thought people would find it charming to be able to call a hotline filled with encouraging advice being offered by children, so she did some research on how to create one and started recording children who wanted to participate.

The Peptoc Hotline project exploded

The Peptoc Hotline was originally intended to be just part of a community project for the small school, but people began sharing the number on social media and the call volume exploded. When it reached 11,000 calls an hour, the original number crashed and they set up a second number.

Visiting artist Asherah Weiss, who also worked on the project, said: “We thought this project could bring some joy to everybody, and that the kids could see that they could put their positive messages out in the world and be received. We just didn’t realize that the reception would be to this scale.” (Washington Post)

Weiss said in an email: “It’s so accessible to just make a phone call, and it’s been shared widely because people are touched to hear young voices imparting genuine, silly, and profound statements.”

This charming hotline is a great way to get through the day if you feel down. The Peptoc Hotline has a directory that will connect you with a kindergarten student who will give you some great advice. Some of the suggestions that you might hear include: “If you’re feeling mad, you should take three deep breaths and think of things that make you happy.”

Part of a flier for the Peptoc project that says: 'Everything you do is full of rainbows.'
The charming hotline will connect you with a kindergartner who will give you some encouraging advice. (Image via Jessica Martin)

You can also hear kids laughing with delight by pressing 4 on the Peptoc Hotline. This is a great way to fight off stress and have a good laugh yourself. It’s the perfect way to lift your spirits and feel better. You can hear the children giving words of encouragement, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face! The innocence of the children and their advice is something that can’t be found elsewhere.

After calling either the original Peptoc Hotline number (707)-998-8410 or the new number (707)-873-7862, callers go to a directory where they can choose from a variety of topics that range from getting through the day to hearing children laughing with delight. “If you’re feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press 1,” the directory begins. “If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3… If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4.”

Hotline provider Telzio donated 1 million minutes to the project but with the high call volume, they will be quickly used up. However, the school hopes to keep it going so they set up a GoFundMe. You can also donate by pressing 6 when you call one of the Peptoc Hotline numbers.

According to Weiss, the students don’t yet realize how many people’s lives they have touched with their Peptoc Hotline project, but she and Martin are trying to explain it to them. According to Weiss: “Everyone has the ability to do something small that may bring folks together in their street or town. In this case, the project has become much larger than what it started out as. Imagine if everyone knew they could impart that kind of positive change into the world.”

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