Sit With Us app helps kids find people to eat lunch with at school
After spending an entire year eating lunch alone, a teen girl created the Sit With Us app to help other kids avoid lonely meals in the school cafeteria.
The Sit With Us app lets kids label themselves as ambassadors, which lets other students know it’s safe to sit with them. The ambassadors can also post open lunch events in the app that signal to kids who are looking for a lunch buddy that there’s a table of people waiting for them. Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California, is the brains behind the genius app that’ll help countless kids. She’s a junior now, but Hampton’s own experiences eating alone led to bullying and eventually her desire to create the app.
When she was in seventh grade, Hampton spent every lunch period eating alone. She told the Los Angeles Daily News that it made her a target for school bullies. “I was a shell of the person I was,” she explained. “When I walked into a classroom I was planning an escape route.” Various bullying attacks left the young girl with nightmares, depression, and at one point a hospital stay due to health issues from the stress of it all.
Knowing that other kids have been bullied prompted the now 16-year-old to find a tech-savvy solution and the Sit With Us app was born. And the best part, according to Hampton, is that the privacy lets kids avoid public rejection. “This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know,” she explained to NPR. “And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.”
Most of us have a story or two about lonely lunches as a kid. Recently, a college football player had lunch with a boy who has autism and a photo of them eating together is going viral since the kid typically eats alone. I remember spending freshman year of high school in the library at lunch. A love for reading made the loneliness less jarring. Our similar experiences are the reason Hampton’s app will no likely be a huge success.
The teen told NPR that she’s received lots of positive feedback since launching Sit With Us just last week. “People are already posting open lunches at my school,” she shared. “So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start.”