bullying

This Teen Made an App That Helps Students Find Lunch Buddies

CAROLYN HAMPTON PHOTOGRAPHY

CAROLYN HAMPTON PHOTOGRAPHY

There’s a new app that helps teens find friends in the school cafeteria–you know, that dreaded place millions of movies were made about. 16-year-old Natalie Hampton created the app “Sit With Us” as a way to help students who have a hard time finding a place to sit find a group to befriend. It’s kind of ingenious.

So, how does it work? Students can choose to be “ambassadors,” which means they can invite others to the app. Ambassadors can also post “open lunch” events, which signal to anyone that they’re invited to join their table. The California teen decided to create the app, which launched on September 9, because of her own experiences with loneliness.

Hampton claims she ate alone her entire 7th grade year, which also made other kids bully her. Now that she’s in a different school, she’s doing much better–but the memories of being alone and bullied still haunt her. Because of that, she wants to help other kids.

Part of the allure of the app is the fact that no one has to know about it. She told NPR how it can prevent kids from being publicly rejected, and thus, being embarrassed and treated as an outsider. She stated:

“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 app

As of now, the app is doing quite well–and many students have reported positive experiences:

“People are already posting open lunches at my school. So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start.”

We hope more teens adopt this–as it also allows students to take a stand against bullying and act as ambassadors, which teaches empathy, compassion, and to have strength in the face of adversity.


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Joanna Valente

Joanna Valente is the Editorial Assistant at Kveller. She is the author of Sirs & Madams The Gods Are Dead, and Marys of the Sea (forthcoming), and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. You can follow her @joannasaid on Twitter, @joannacvalente on Instagram, or email her at joanna@kveller.com.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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