Arlington-based nonprofit, Mensa Education & Research Foundation, is awarding a California teen for creating an app that provides an avenue for students to find others to sit with at lunch.
Natalie Hampton knows the humiliation of sitting alone in the cafeteria, as she was bullied throughout her middle school years. Through her app, Sit With Us, Hampton hopes no one will have to endure solitude in the lunch room.
“Lunch might seem really small, but I think these are the small steps that make a school more inclusive,” she told The Washington Post last fall. “It doesn’t seem like you’re asking that much, but once you get people in the mindset, it starts to change the way students think about each other. It makes a huge difference in how they treat each other.”
“Lunch might seem really small, but I think these are the small steps that make a school more inclusive.”
Sit With Us allows students to connect and coordinate their lunch plans. Students are encouraged to become Ambassadors to offer open seats at their lunch tables for their peers who are struggling to connect with other students.
Mensa is awarding Hampton with the Copper Black Award, an achievement recognizing an invention or innovation that is implemented and helps people other than the nominee.
“We are very proud to recognize Natalie’s use of her intelligence, compassion, and creativity to find a solution to a problem affecting her and other students in our community,” Mensa Foundation President Marie Mayer said in a release. “Her work as an innovator and advocate has a significant impact on solving societal problems. She is truly deserving of this award.”
Hampton also has received widespread interest for Sit With Us, with academic administrators from across the country inquiring about implementing the app within their schools.