CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES – Natalie Hampton, a 16 year-old from Sherman Oaks has created an app to counteract the feeling of isolation that comes from eating lunch alone. Her app, ‘Sit with Us’ is a free lunch planning app where kids can find lunch time company if they have no one to sit with.
As described on the Apple App store:
Sit With Us is a social networking app designed to promote kindness and inclusion in schools. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends. They can also volunteer to be Ambassadors for their schools and post open lunch events on campus where everyone will be included. No one needs to eat alone!
Sit With Us was designed by a 16 year old girl who was a victim of severe bullying. It was terrible having to eat lunch alone every day, so her goal was to create an app to make sure that no kids felt like they had nowhere to go. So, Sit With Us was created! Inviting others to join the lunch table not only fosters a warmer, more welcome community, but also provides a great opportunity to make new friends.
Natalie experienced significant bullying and isolation during her years in 7th and 8th grade at an all-girls private school. She was called names, told she was ugly, would never have any friends and excluded from parties. Members of a clique of “mean girls” shoved her in a locker, scratched her and even threatened to kill her.
Now in year 11 at a new school, Natalie explains on her website, “After I changed schools, whenever I saw someone eating lunch alone, I would always invite the person to join the group. Each time, the person’s face would light up, and the look of relief would wash over the person’s face. Some of those people have become some of my closest friends.”
During an interview with NPR, Natalie was asked why develop an app? Why not just ask to sit down?
“Because the way it was at my old school, I tried many times to reach out to someone, but I was rejected on many times. And you feel like you’re labeling yourself as an outcast when you ask to join a table with someone you don’t know. This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know. And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.”
- Sit With Us website
- High school student develops ‘Sit With Us’ app to encourage isolation at lunchtime – 14 Sep 2016, CBS Los Angeles
- Teen creates ‘Sit With Us’ app for bullied kids – 9 Sep 2016 NPR
- This once bullied teen has a simple solution so no one has to eat alone int he cafeteria ever again – 14 Sep 2016, The Washington Post