By Sara RomanoUpdated May 06, 2022
Photo: @jessicamartinart via Instagram
It's fairly easy to admit that sometimes, just sometimes, your kids get on your nerves. But despite the occasional exasperation, there's no denying that a child's giddy laughter can turn even the harshest frown upside down—and an adorable public art project from elementary students set out to do just that.
With the help of their teachers, West Side Elementary School students created a free phone hotline for callers to hear unscripted, inspiring and sometimes downright silly messages.
"Hi, welcome to Peptoc, a public art project by West Side school," says the friendly voice, welcoming you to the hotline. Whether you need motivation or advice on what to do if you're feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, these adorable kids have got you covered—in English and Spanish!
“If you're nervous, go get your wallet and spend it on ice cream and shoes," suggests one student, who makes a tempting point.
"Keep trying, don't give up!" cheer other students if you press two for words of encouragement and life advice.
And don't forget to "think of groundhogs" when you're feeling unbalanced, a delightful reminder that needs no explanation.
The hotline was created by two teachers at the California school, Asherah Weiss and Jessica Martin. They told CBS News that while they thought family and friends might enjoy calling the number, it has grown bigger than they ever imagined. Peptoc now receives around 9,000 calls an hour and over half a million in total so far. "It was very shocking," said Weiss of the response.
The kids were also surprised by the news. "It spread all around the world," said one student. Another told the outlet that they weren't expecting the hotline to "go viral."
Weiss and Martin are very proud of their students, who Martin reminds that they "gave a gift to the world."
"Adults support children, but we don't really celebrate how much they support us. And to be able to be comforted by them gives us great hope that maybe we're all going to be OK," said Martin.
One of the most lighthearted parts of the hotline is the option to hear a bunch of kindergarteners laugh, reminding us all of the pure joy and love that kids can bring us. To hear more of the students' motivational and funny advice, you can call the hotline at 707-873-7862 (long distance charges may apply).