In February 2022, art teacher Jessica Martin and fellow educator and artist Asherah Weiss created a hotline where callers could listen to feel-good pep talks (Peptoc), conceived and recorded by kids — or, more specifically — their students. After dialing (707)-8PEPTOC or (707)-873-7862, you can:
Press 1 if you are mad, frustrated or nervous.
Press 2 if you need encouragement or life advice.
Press 3 for a pep talk from a kindergartner. (And who doesn't need that once in a while?)
Press 4 to hear kids laughing with delight.
Press 6 to hear how awesome you look.
Callers can even Press 5 for encouragement 'en Español.'
The advice is as adorable as you imagine it might be:
"If you're frustrated, take a few sips of water."
"Don't give up, power through."
"Lady, you're beautiful!"
"If you're mad, take three deep breaths and think of things that make you happy."
"If you're feeling high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs."
Martin and Weiss say the students were naturals at offering motivation and kindness and needed very little prompting when it came to offering words of wisdom, empathy or joy. Apparently, the public agreed. Two days after the number launched Feb. 27, 2022, Martin says the hotline received up to 700 callers per hour. Within weeks, Peptoc was getting 9,000 calls a day, all day. Right before the November midterm elections, the Peptoc number was tweeted out. Within 12 hours, the hotline received more than 1.6 million calls.