High school can be a very stressful time for teenagers. Making friends can be difficult, and, unfortunately, some kids get bullied despite the best efforts of teachers and parents to avoid it.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. The following story is yet one more reminder that in school — just like everywhere else — you can find creative, caring, kind people who are always ready to help others out.
Natalie Hampton is a 16-year-old student from Sherman Oaks, California. She created a special app called ’Sit With Us.’ It’s specifically designed to help students who have difficulty finding a place to sit in the school cafeteria find a welcoming group of people to have lunch with.
The app allows students to designate themselves as ’ambassadors,’ giving others the chance to join them. Ambassadors can post ’open lunch’ events, which let any student seeking company know that they’re invited to join the ambassadors’ table.
Natalie was inspired to create this incredible app after she spent her entire seventh grade year eating alone. Understandably, this left her feeling vulnerable, and it also made her a target for bullying. Now at a different school, Natalie is much happier. But she didn’t want others to have to go through what she has experienced.
Natalie explained that she felt an app like this was necessary because it prevents kids from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts by their peers. ’This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know,’ she said. ’And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.’
Since the app was launched on September 9th, Natalie has been getting positive feedback from her peers. ’People are already posting open lunches at my school,’ she told the program. ’So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start.’
Research suggests that using social media tools in combination with concerted action on the part of students and teachers can have a major impact on the level of bullying in schools. It looks like Natalie has found a really good idea here, and we at WeGoRo hope it will become very successful.
Well done, Natalie!