From Lonely Lunches to Anti-Bullying App, How One Teen Helps Others Create Kindness in Schools
In 7th and 8th grade, Natalie Hampton faced a terrible bullying experience. Every day, she ate lunch by herself and dealt with the pain and isolation that comes from being the outsider. She decided she wanted to give bullied kids an ally – not just in her Sherman Oakes, California, school, but in schools around the country.
That’s how she came up with the idea to create an app called Sit With Us, which allows students to identify themselves as “ambassadors” and create open lunch tables. Students who face bullying and eating lunch alone can check the app to find an open lunch table, walk over and sit down, no questions asked.
Though she didn’t have much coding experience, Natalie recognized that her fellow classmates use their phone for everything. She teamed up with a coder to create the app and help her flesh out her ideas.
“The app creates a micro-community within your school and it’s your peers and your classmates that are standing up and taking leadership roles to make their school a kinder place,” Natalie said. “Instead of bringing someone from the outside in and setting up an assembly to say ‘don’t bully,’ it’s your own classmates that are taking on that role. That’s why it has a big impact on making a school community more inclusive.”