You Can Sit With Us
There was a major breakthrough in tech this week as far as I’m concerned. No, it’s not another iOS upgrade that doesn’t address the storage confusions with documents, data and apps on Apple devices (WHY did I upgrade to the 1TB iCloud?).
It’s a new app called Sit With Us, developed by 16-year-old Natalie Hampton of Sherman Oaks, California, just in time for back to school. It’s an app for many of us who didn’t cut it with the “cool kids” at lunch and perhaps didn’t even eat in the lunchroom at all for fear of being criticized for eating alone. Or for having crooked eyebrows. Or for wearing cheap shoes with holes in them. Or for the myriad of other things that kids might tease each other about.
Sit With Us was designed to change all that. As Hampton explains on the app’s website, she was bullied in middle school — and one of the worst parts was having to eat alone in the cafeteria. Hampton wanted to ensure that everyone always has a welcoming place to eat. The free app allows students to coordinate lunches with friends, create open lunches for everyone to join and search for lunches at their school.
During my first two or three years of high school, I ate lunch in the choir room. The show choir pianist was always goofing around, playing modern music like En Vogue or Toni Braxton. Choir or band couples would be snuggled up around the room. The 45 minutes went delightfully long, and it was a nice, refreshing break from the monotony of classes.
The group regarded me favorably because I was pretty weird, and so were they. As kids who were serious about music in a sports-heavy school district, we were all already outcasts. They eventually recruited me to play in the bell choir. I had never felt more accepted in my life.
Social styles and developmental differences can vary greatly. Some kids prefer to only hang out with one or two close friends, while others seek acceptance from many; some kids act a bit too aggressive or hyper (me), while others are just plain ignored. Sometimes kids can be very mean to each other. On the heels of World Suicide Prevention Day, this app couldn’t have come at a better time.
Sit With Us users also can opt to become Ambassadors for their school to set up lunch events privately for anyone to join. As Hampton explains on the site, “It is my hope, with people pledging to be Ambassadors at their schools, that no one will feel left out.”
This requires kids to have the app and be open to it, and for someone to take charge to be an Ambassador. It just takes one.
Sit With Us is available for iOS. For more information, visit sitwithus.io.
CHRISTA WITTMIER IS “SUPERCW” ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. FIND HER ON SNAPCHAT, SOUNDCLOUD, TWITTER, VINE AND INSTAGRAM. BY NIGHT, SHE IS KNOWN AS DJ SUPERCW. BY DAY, SHE IS KNOWN AS SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR YOUNG’S MARKET COMPANY OF HAWAII.