Natalie Hampton Creates 'Sit With Us' App to Find Kids Lunch Buddies
For some students, lunchtime is the most stressful period of the day. If you are new to a school, missing friends in your lunch period or have been bullied, finding someone to sit with can be challenging. To help make school cafeterias more inclusive, 16-year-old Natalie Hampton created “Sit With Us,” an app that lets students find someone to eat lunch with.
Hampton created the app as a response to being bullied in middle school. “At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day,” Hampton, now a high school student in Sherman Oaks, California, told All Things Considered. “When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops.”
“Sit With Us” allows students to coordinate lunches, opening up their tables to friends and other students who might not have a place to sit. The app also lets students act as ambassadors and post open lunch events on campus.
“I believe that every school has upstanders like me, who are happy and willing to invite anyone to join the lunch table,” Hampton wrote on the “Sit With Us” website.. “It is my hope, with people pledging to be Ambassadors at their schools, that no one will feel left out.”
So far the response to Hamilton’s app has been positive. “I had my first club meeting the other day, and everyone was very excited,” Hampton said. “People are already posting open lunches at my school. So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start.”
App users seem to love the app too. The app has a four-and-a-half star rating in the app store with 38 reviews. Those interested in downloading “Sit With Us” can purchase it for free in the iTunes app store. “Sit With Us” is currently unavailable for Android devices.