Sit With Us is an ingenious new app set to combat bullying and social exclusion. What’s even more special is that it has been invented by a sixteen-year-old named Natalie Hampton.
The 11th grader, who hails from Sherman Oaks, California was inspired to develop a platform which allowed kids to find an open and friendly group to join in the school cafeteria.
It was from a series of personal experiences that Hampton devised the concept for Sit With Us. Having been a victim of bullying, she simply felt that she never wanted another child to feel the way that she did.
“At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day. 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. And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit. So there’s so many awful feelings that come along with it.”
The app, which is available for free, allows students to invite others to join them at a group or table. Students can assign themselves roles as ‘ambassadors’ and can add “open lunch” events, that send out an open invitation to kids who want to avail of the service.
The personal nature of the app allows students to seek a friendly welcome in a discreet manner, as Hampton explains;
“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.”
Listen to Hampton’s full interview with Audie Cornish on NPR: