Bullied Teen Develops App To Help Students Find People To Sit With At Lunch

No one should have to eat alone, which is why this 16-year-old entrepreneur created an app to bring students together during lunchtime.

Credit: Mean Girls via Seventeen.com

Credit: Mean Girls via Seventeen.com

Though many adults are grateful for the lessons they learned in high school, few would choose to endure the period of schooling once again. That’s because for most, grades 9 – 12 were tough.

Between trying to survive puberty, exams, and crushes, there was the pressure to find a group – or clique – to fit into. Conformity is accepted – if not encouraged – in high school because teens can often be so cutthroat. As unfortunate as it is, those who think independently and spend time on their own are often picked on by bullies.

Because no one should have to go through high school feeling as if they are alone, a 16-year-old student who was once bullied herself developed an app to bring people together. The Daily News reports that Natalie Hampton from Sherman Oaks, California, created “Sit With Us” which helps students find people to sit with at lunch.

As a seventh-grade attending an all-girls school, Hampton endured several episodes of bullying. Once, she was threatened with scissors, and another time was tripped as she ran down the hall.  Now a junior, Hampton is happy at a different school and wants to ensure that other students attain the same level of comfort.


Credit: LA Daily News

She told NPR:

“I felt that if I was thriving in a new school but didn’t do anything about the people who feel like this every single day, then I’m just as bad as the people who watched me eat alone. I felt like, with my story, it was my job to stand up and do something about all the kids who feel like this every day. And I wanted to create something that would address bullying, but in a positive way.”

Sit With Us” is a free app that is very simple to use. Students can designate themselves as ambassadors and post open lunches for anyone who doesn’t have a place to sit during lunch to join.

Credit: "Sit With Us"

Credit: “Sit With Us”

Because eating alone can be both awkward and uncomfortable, this app will hopefully help reduce bullying by bringing people together. Said Hampton:

“[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.”

The app launched on September 9th and has already received a number of positive responses. If you’re in high school – or know someone who is, consider downloading the app and sharing it with others to ensure students at your school feel included.

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