California Elementary School Students Create Public Hotline for Pep Talks

Group of children smiling and laughingGroup of children smiling and laughing
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West Side Elementary students and two of their teachers have created a public hotline that thousands have already called, all with the goal of spreading joy during difficult times.

A new hotline created by children with the goal of spreading joy is now available.

Adrian Florido, host of Weekend Edition on NPR, shared his experience calling the hotline — entitled Pep Talk  — sharing the audio with the podcast’s listeners. 

“Please listen to the following options for encouraging messages. If you're feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press one. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press two,” the recording says.

“If you need a pep talk from kindergarteners, press three. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press four.”

Pep Talk was put together by West Side Elementary students and their teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss in California. 

“I trust that you can make things right,” a child’s voice says. “We already like you,” says another.

According to Florido, Martin says she was inspired by her students' positive attitudes, despite all they've been through, including the pandemic, wildfires, and the everyday challenges of being a kid.

Pep Talk receives thousands of calls each day, according to Martin. The teacher shared with the podcast host that she hopes the hotline will give callers some relief from their current challenges.

“That this went viral is really a testament that we all still have a lot of healing to do,” Florido says. “And, you know, with the current situation in Ukraine and all of the other terrors and sadness that we all carry, it's really important that we continue to hold this light.”

If you want to listen in on the kids’ positive messages or joyful giggles, dial 707-998-8410 for Pep Talk.

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