Speed Reads

just a phone call away

Kids launch free hotline to share pep talks, pieces of advice

Need a little encouragement? How about some advice? Maybe a few words of wisdom? All this and more is just a phone call to Peptoc away.

Peptoc is a free hotline created by students at West Side Elementary in Healdsburg, California, with help from teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss. "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.

After discussing with Martin "the idea of art as a kind of social practice," the students recorded messages for Peptoc. Martin said the kids' "creativity and resourcefulness is something that we need to emulate," and thanks to Peptoc, their words will reach a wider audience.

Peptoc launched on Feb. 26, and is already receiving thousands of calls every day. After dialing Peptoc at 707-998-8410, callers are instructed to hit 1 if they're "feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous," and 2 if it's encouragement and life advice they're seeking. For a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3, and to hear kids "laughing with delight," hit 4. Encouragement in Spanish is available by pressing 5.

The hotline's recordings show a high level of "joy and love and imagination," Martin told NPR, and that is "what's going to save us in the end."