A group of students from Healdsburg, California’s West Side Elementary School launched a free-of-charge phone hotline and leave uplifting and inspiring messages for callers from the whole world.
The opening message says: “Hi, welcome to Peptoc, a public art project by West Side School. If you’re feeling mad, frustrated, or nervous, press 1.”
The callers can also choose words of encouragement as well as advice for everyday life from kindergarteners, hear children who’re laughing delightfully, or get encouraged in Spanish.
Cheering the Ones Who Need It the Most in the most Beautiful Way: A Kid’s Way
The students leave unscripted positive messages on the line in hopes to cheer up the ones who call. They’ve also recently added another number after the original one crashed from a lot of calls.
Some of the messages say:
“If you feel mad or frustrated, you can do what you want to do best or you can do flips on the trampoline”
“Dude, live it up!”
“If you’re sad or angry, go get a cookie or smoothie or ice cream”
“If you’re nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes.”
Peptoc is getting up to 11,000 calls per hour and sometimes callers will get a busy signal since they’re swamped. As of the start of the project, the hotline has gotten nearly half a million calls.
This community art project was launched by art teacher Jessica Martin and visiting artist Asherah Weiss. They believed that their family and friends would enjoy those lovely words of encouragement in times of trouble.
Crucial Project in Times when Depression Is Soaring
Unfortunately, according to a Boston study, the rates of depression tripled from 2020 to 2021 and kept worsening, eventually being an issue in one of every three Americans.
The company Telzio is the host of the hotline and they provide business phone systems. They usually charge calls by the minute, but as sponsors of the project, they gave 1 million minutes for free.
With the rising popularity of this comforting hotline, the free minutes will probably be depleted soon, so the school launched fund-raising to keep the project going.