Teenager invents 'Sit With Us' app so no school kid has to eat alone again

Teenager invents 'Sit With Us' app so no school kid has to eat alone again
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A bullied teenager who often ate her school lunch alone has created an app to help other students avoid having to suffer the same fate.

Natalie Hampton, 16, who attends school in California, developed Sit With Us to help students let each other know anyone is welcome to join them for lunch without the fear of rejection.

Students can log on to the app to arrange lunch with friends, and find or host an “open lunch", where anyone is free to eat with them.

Natalie was interviewed about her experience of being bullied for Today. She said:

I had bruises on my body from being punched with fists or shoved into lockers, I was slapped and had my hair tied in knots, and I still have a scar on my left hand from when a girl clawed me with nails and drew blood.

Apart from the horrific attacks, the worst thing was being treated as an outcast and having to eat lunch alone every day. I believe that being isolated branded me as a target. All I wanted was to have just one person who had my back.

Natalie told Today she hopes the app can help schools to become more inclusive, and encourages teachers and parents to build the app into their schools.

Even though just about every school has bullies, I believe each school has a larger number of upstanders who want to make their schools more inclusive and kind.

Sit With Us calls upon those people to reach out to students who may feel isolated. Lunch may seem like a small thing, but over time, I think this kind of program can shift the dynamic, so that kids are nicer to other kids in the classroom, or outside of the classroom, and not just at the lunch table.

I hope that the message of Sit With Us spreads, so that, at a minimum, kids remember to reach out to other kids with kindness and acceptance. You never know — that person sitting alone at the next table could become your best friend.

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