Natalie Hampton Creator of ‘Sit With Us”’
Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California, is the designer of Sit With Us, which launched on September 9.2016 She was inspired to create it after she ate alone her entire seventh grade year, she told LA Daily News. The situation left Hampton feeling vulnerable and made her a target for bullying.
Hampton, now a junior, is attending a different school and is thriving socially. Yet, the memory of sitting alone and being bullied still haunts her, especially since she knows her experience isn’t an isolated one. Natalie Hampton spent most of her 7th and 8th grade school years eating lunch alone.
The new girl at an all-girls private school in Los Angeles, she became the target of a clique of “mean girls” who excluded her from parties, called her names and even physically assaulted her, she said. They told her she was ugly and would never have any friends. They shoved her in a locker, scratched her and even threatened to kill her.
She feared telling on them, afraid of their retaliation. Once a kid who loved going to school, She stopped eating, she couldn’t sleep. The anxiety became so bad that she had to be hospitalized. Her mom calls it “the darkest period of our lives.”
Then here Comes the twist, Natalie came up with an idea that would allow students a judgment-free way to find lunch mates without the fear of being rejected. She developed an app called “Sit With Us,” where students can sign up as “ambassadors” and post that there are open seats at their lunch table. A student who doesn’t have a place to sit can look at the app and find an ambassador’s table and know they are invited to join it.
When signing up as an ambassador, the student takes a pledge that they’ll be kind and welcoming to whoever comes to sit with them.
“Lunch might seem really small, but I think these are the small steps that make a school more inclusive,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like you’re asking that much, but once you get people in the mindset, it starts to change the way students think about each other. It makes a huge difference in how they treat each other.”
Hampton told Audie Cornish on NPR’s “All Things Considered” that the reason why she felt an app like this was necessary is because it prevents kids from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts by their peers.
When students ― especially the “cool kids” ― stand up to bullying, it has a significant impact, according to a study conducted by Princeton, Rutgers and Yale University. During a 2012–2013 school year, over 50 New Jersey middle schools provided their most socially competent students with social media tools and encouragement to combat bullying, and saw a reduction in student conflict reports by 30 percent….
So don’t Bully a Kid (Especially Girls :) you’re not here to bullying keep Expand your Friendship circle … Sorry to say this App is an Apple oriented :P ( ios )