A new pep talk hotline, dubbed “PepToc” (like Peptok, get it? Pep Tok, like TikTok) voiced primarily by elementary school children, offers pep talks and life advice for people feeling mad, frustrated or nervous (and who isn’t feeling one or more of those things in these times?), or who need life advice or just need some kind words of encouragement. Or you can just press 4 to hear “kids laughing with delight”.
The PepTok pep talk hotline is an enrichment project of the West Side Union Elementary School, in Healdsburg, California, a small town in the San Francisco Bay area, north of San Francisco. Keeping in mind that old saw that all you need to know about life you learned in kindergarten (or at least Robert Fulghum did), it may not be surprising that the advice that these elementary school kids have to give is straightforward and can be quite effective despite (or because of) its simplicity. At the very least it can give you pause (even that a welcome respite from news of the world) and put a smile on your face (ditto).
When you call the PepTok pep talk hotline number (707-998-8410) you are greeted with “Welcome to PepTok, a public art project by West Side school. Please listen to the following for encouraging advice.” You are then presented with the following options:
“If you are 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. If you would like to make a donation to support this project please press 6.”
When you press 1 (If you are feeling mad, frustrated or nervous) you hear various words of advice from the kids, including “Take 3 deep breaths and think of things that make you happy”, “If you’re frustrated just take 5 minutes off”, “If you’re feeling frustrated go to your room and punch a pillow”, and “If you’re feeling nervous take your wallet and go buy some ice cream”. We think that last is particularly sound advice.
When you press 2 (If you need words of encouragement and life advice), you do indeed hear words of encouragement, such as “Be grateful for yourself”, “Be happy, try it again”, “Don’t give up, power through”, “Choose weird”, “You are ok”, “It’s ok to be different”, “The world is a better place with you in it”, and, one of our favorites, “Dude, live it up”. There is also what sounds like the entire school shouting, in unison “We love you!”
Pressing 3 will treat you to the sound of a gaggle of kindergartners shouting “You can do it!”, and pressing 4 (“If you you need to hear kids laughing with delight press 4”) will indeed delight you with the joyous sound of kids laughing. Only the grinchiest of grinches can resist smiling at the sound of kids laughing!
All this said, running the hotline costs money (personally we think that the hotline-hosting service should donate their services to this worthy cause), with project teacher Jessica Martin of West Side saying that so far it has cost more than $800 to run the hotline. Hence option 6:
“Westside is a small public elementary school in rural California with very limited funds. Please consider making a donation to help us pay for the monthly fees for this hotline, and to support our enrichment programs. Please go to www.westsideusd.org to make a tax deductible donation. Thank you so much for your support.”
Here is the direct link to make a donation: https://westsideparentsfef.wixsite.com/felta/donate