A new hotline offers pep talks from kindergartners What started as an art project at a California elementary school has gone viral. The free hotline offers wise advice and encouraging messages from kids to anyone who calls.

Press 3 for a pep talk from kindergartners. A new hotline gives you options for joy

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ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:

Like many of you, we at WEEKEND EDITION have been feeling the crush of difficult news from all around the world, which is why we were intrigued to hear about a new hotline.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: 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. If you need a pep talk from kindergarteners, press three. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press four.

FLORIDO: I don't know about you, but frustration seems like a bit of an understatement for what I'm feeling. Still, let's start there by pressing one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: If you're frustrated, you can always go to your bedroom, punch a pillow or cry on it and just go scream outside.

FLORIDO: Great advice for some, but maybe not for those of us stuck in a studio hosting a radio show. Maybe some words of encouragement. Let's try pressing two.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: Be grateful for yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: Dude, live it up.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #4: I trust that you can make things right.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #5: If you're feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #6: It's OK to be different.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: We already like you.

FLORIDO: Starting to feel a little better? Those are the students of West Side Elementary in Healdsburg, Calif., and this is Pep Talk, a public hotline they put together with help from their teachers, Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: You can do it. Keep trying. Don't give up.

FLORIDO: Jessica Martin says she was inspired by her students' positive attitudes, despite all they've been through - the pandemic, wildfires in their region and just the everyday challenges of being a kid.

JESSICA MARTIN: So I thought, you know, with this world being as it is, we all really needed to hear from them and their extraordinary advice and their continual joy.

FLORIDO: And how about the sounds of their laughter. Would that cheer you up? Well, that's hotline option No. 4.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN LAUGHING)

FLORIDO: Martin says she hopes the hotline will give callers a little respite from whatever it is they're going through, which, judging from the thousands of calls the hotline gets each day, is a lot.

MARTIN: That this went viral is really a testament that we all still have a lot of healing to do. 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.

FLORIDO: So the next time you need a little boost, dial up Pep Talk. Ready for the number? It's 707-998-8410. Go on. Give them a call for sage advice such as this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #7: (Speaking Spanish).

FLORIDO: If you're sad, go buy some donuts.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEZPARADO MGD'S "HOTLINE BLING")

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