Everyone Needs a Little PepTok
Vol.8 Issue 3
Cheery young girl with phone

During these times of change and uncertainty, everyone is looking for a reason to smile. Sometimes it can be the smallest things that can relieve anxious feelings of being overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, or nervous. Elementary School teachers from West Side School in Healdsburg, CA (Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss) were continually inspired by the positivity of their students.

As a result, they created a free emotional support hotline of pre-recorded positivity messages from their students. "I thought, you know, with this world being as it is, we all really need to hear from them – their extraordinary advice and continual joy," says Martin.

If you call (707) 998-8410, you will be greeted by delightful, pre-recorded messages from the young students. For instance, if you need words of encouragement and life advice, press two. If you would like a pep talk from kindergartners, press three. If you need to hear kids laughing with sheer joy, press four. For encouragement in Spanish, press five. Their simplicity of advice warms the heart. Listeners are encouraged to listen to each option.

The Peptok (based on a student’s cute misspelling of pep talk), began in late February as the students recorded their infectious giggles as part of their art class. Soon, the community was sharing the resource across social media platforms and the hotline became a reverberating success. In just days after their launch, they were receiving 700 calls every hour. The school hopes to continue the hotline until the end of the school year, thanks to the help of outside funding. The good news has spread to several major news outlets including CNN and NPR. Martin expresses to NPR, "Their creativity and resourcefulness is something that we need to emulate, because that level of joy and love and imagination is what’s going to save us in the end."

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