It feels like I write the same intro over and over. It goes something like this: How do we even deal with *whatever new crisis this article is detailing* when, you know, there is an ongoing pandemic, Russia continues to attack Ukraine, and our own government is actively working to endanger and erase trans kids? Oh, and let’s not forget that whole “we-are-destroying-the-planet” business that is climate change.
We can wrack our brain for solutions to these complex world issues and doom-scroll until we’ve completely dissociated and decide that melting into the couch and binging Love Island is the proper course of action for the foreseeable future. We can step away if need be. But sometimes, all it takes is a little reframing to ground yourself and find a way to reenter the fight refreshed.
Enter Peptoc, a hotline staffed by the sage kindergartners of West Side Elementary in Healdsburg, California. The group project, facilitated by teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss, was inspired by the kids’ unwavering optimism in the face of, well, everything.
"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.
Dial the number for Peptoc — (707) 998-8410 — and you will be given a menu of options, depending on what kind of pick-me-up you need.
“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.”
The kindergartners have some solid advice on how to manage stress and pump yourself up
“If you’re frustrated, you can always go to your bedroom, punch a pillow, or cry on it, and just go scream outside,” suggests one student to anyone who presses 1.
Thinking you need more of a positive affirmation? Pressing 2 will get you a host of positive mantras, including the sage reminder to “be grateful for yourself.”
One student emphatically offers this piece of wisdom: “Dude! Live it up.” Noted. “I trust that you can make things right,” chimes in another student.
Smashing that 3 will give you too-cute-to-describe group affirmations and life reminders. “It’s okay to be different, we already like you!” a chorus of kindergartners say in sing-song.
Yeah, I’m going to be calling this number on a daily basis.
Naturally, a project as cute and necessary like this went viral, and the hotline has received thousands of calls. Fans of the service can donate here to keep the positive hotline vibes going. Martin noted to NPR that any surplus funds will go towards the school’s enrichment programs.
"That this went viral is really testament that we all still have a lot of healing to do... 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,” Martin concluded.