Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Sit With Us": Spreading Kindness at Lunch Time

A message from your friends at the Connecticut Public Affairs Network...

Hello everyone! We hope the new school year is off to a great start for all of our student, teacher, and parent followers!

One of the most exciting parts of a new year – especially if you’re at a new school – is making new friends. And lunch time is a great chance to talk to those friends – you might find out that you have lots of things in common! Do you have a favorite subject in school? Tell a new friend about why you think that subject is cool, and ask them if they have a favorite subject too. You can do the same thing with your favorite sports team, television show, or food! Sharing your interests with others and asking what interests them is a great way to make friends, and can be a great way to show kindness!

For some students, choosing which table to eat at can be stressful. It can be scary to ask to join somebody else’s table, especially if you don’t know anyone sitting there. Natalie Hampton, a student from Sherman Oaks, California, was nervous to join someone’s table for lunch at her new school. Instead, she decided to eat by herself every day. Natalie felt embarrassed and lonely sitting by herself, but she was afraid that the other students would be mean to her if she asked to join their table.

Natalie moved to a new school and quickly made new friends! But she didn’t want other students to have the same experience she did. She wanted to make sure that students at her new school weren’t embarrassed or nervous about asking to join someone’s table, and she didn’t want anyone to have to eat alone.

Natalie decided to create an app for phones to make it easier to find a place to eat. Her app, “Sit With Us,” lets students volunteer to be lunch ambassadors. These ambassadors can set up an “open lunch,” meaning that any student is welcome to sit at their table. Natalie says the best part about the app is that it’s private. Shy or nervous students don’t have to ask someone if they can join their table. All they have to do is check the app and join an ambassador’s table.

A screenshot for Natalie Hampton's Sit With Us app. 

So how can you get involved? You can download the app and spread the word around your school. Or, you can keep an eye out for students who are sitting by themselves and ask if they want to join your table, even if you don’t have the app!

Natalie witnessed a problem at her school and wanted to do something to change it. With her app, Natalie is helping her fellow students. Are there any problems in your school? How can you fix them? Talk to your parents and your teachers – they can help you think of ways to make your school a friendlier, more welcoming place for everyone. That’s a great way to spread kindness!

And, if you’re a 5th grader, consider running for Connecticut’s Kid Governor using the problem you’ve identified as your campaign platform! Visit for more information.