The most difficult part of the school day for many teens and tweens is lunch time. That may sound strange, until you realize that the social aspects of school lunchroom can be absolutely brutal. No one wants to be stuck sitting alone at lunch – looking like an outcast. A new app can help solve this problem.
Sit With Us is a mobile app that is designed to promote a kinder and more inclusive school community. It is currently available on the App Store. The main idea behind this app is that the first step toward a warmer, more inclusive, community can begin with lunch.
The app was designed by Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old who attends school in California. She developed the Sit With Us app to help students let each other know that anyone is welcome to join them for lunch without the fear of rejection.
Natalie herself had been victimized by bullies. In an interview with TODAY, she shared some of what she had endured. Natalie had been punched with fists, shoved into lockers, and slapped. She had her hair tied in knots. Natalie has a scar on her hand were a girl clawed her with her nails and drew blood. Natalie was also told that she was “so ugly it’s scary” and that “everybody hates you.”
The idea for the app came from those experiences. Natalie said that all she wanted was for just one person that had her back. She felt that sitting alone at lunch made her an outcast and a target for bullies.
Students can sign into the app with an email or through Facebook. They can search for featured lunch events – or can create their own. It is possible to use the app to chat with other students and coordinate where the group will sit and eat lunch together.
Students who want to help can become Sit With Us Chapter Ambassadors at their school. (This is something they can opt-out of later if they want to). A Sit With Us Ambassador is someone who wants to take an active leadership role in promoting a kind and inclusive school community. An Ambassador agrees to host open lunches – where anyone can join in – on campus whenever possible. Ambassadors are also encouraged to invite people to join their lunch table.
Overall, the Sit With Us App provides a simple and comfortable way for students to find people to sit with at lunch. It removes the potential of asking to sit with someone and being publicly rejected. It gives introverted students the ability to join a lunch group through the app without having to walk up to people and talk to them face-to-face.
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