Natalie is the founder and designer of SIT WITH US, a mobile app she designed to promote a kinder and more inclusive school community.
Natalie is a 16-year-old High School Junior from Sherman Oaks, California. She launched her app on September 9th, 2016, with the goal that no kids should have to eat alone at school, and that everyone feels welcome and included.
This is Natalie’s story from her website where you can get information about downloading her app and getting her movement going at your school!
Sit With Us was inspired by a miserable experience of being bullied in middle school. Apart from the verbal taunts and violence, one of the worst things was having to eat lunch alone, and the embarrassment of having others see me eating lunch alone.
After I changed schools, whenever I saw someone eating lunch alone, I would always invite the person to join the group. Each time, the person’s face would light up, and the look of relief would wash over the person’s face. Some of those people have become some of my closest friends.
Sit With Us was born because I am committed to making sure that other kids don’t suffer as I did. I believe that seemingly small, incremental changes in the overall dynamic of a school community can bring about change, so that everyone feels welcome and included.
I believe that every school has upstanders like me, who are happy and willing to invite anyone to join the lunch table. It is my hope, with people pledging to be Ambassadors at their schools, that no one will feel left out.
Natalie was also recently featured in the Washington Post telling her story.