PEPTOC: Feeling Down? Listen to a Pep Talk From Kindergarteners

When life gets you down and weary, sometimes all you need is a few words of encouragement. That is the basis of the PEPTOC Project devised by Jessica Martin and her students at West Side School in Healdsburg, California.

The project sets up a hotline that anyone can call up. Once you’re connected, you get the options to press different numbers in order to hear the message you need most.

“If you are feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement or 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,” says the kid at the other end of the line.

And for nearly a minute, the kids will offer both profound and whimsical advice. Each in their own voice.

Martins’ idea for the hotline is inspired by the “Callin’ Oates” hotline launched a decade ago in which callers could press either 1 or 2 to listen to different songs. She believes that with the dire state of the world nowadays - wildfires, pandemic, wars - people could use a little pick-me-up.

Image: John Burgess/The Press Democrat

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