Former Victim of Bullying Natalie Hampton Creates App So No Kid Ever Has to Eat Lunch Alone at School

RachelKiser_200TallRachel Kiser
Blogger | Mom of Two


All too often we hear tales of adolescents and teenagers misusing social media. Whether it be illicit content, bullying, or something worse, the thought of my children someday entering into the online world feels daunting, even terrifying. Every once in a while, though, something genuinely altruistic and hopeful comes to our attention. This is where sixteen-year-old highschool student Natalie Hampton comes in.

sitwithus natalie hampton

Image by Carolyn Hampton

Natalie is the creator of Sit With Us, an app designed to make sure that no student ever has to sit alone in the cafeteria. Natalie, herself, was ostracized, bullied, and even physically assaulted by her classmates at an all-girl’s private school she previously attended in Los Angeles, California. She tells Audie Cornish, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, “When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops.”

Although Natalie was able to switch schools the following year, and did thankfully find a group of friends at her new school, she couldn’t forget how it felt to eat lunch alone every single day. “Well, I felt that if I was thriving in a new school but didn’t do anything about the people who feel like this every single day, then I’m just as bad as the people who watched me eat alone,” She shares. Thus, Sit With Us was born.

The way it works is that kids can download the app on their smartphones and find a Sit With Us club at their school. The app allows willing students to sign up as ambassadors, which means they can volunteer to keep an open seat at their table for users to find them and sit down for lunch– and hopefully find new friends. When students become ambassadors, they pledge to be inclusive and kind to whoever asks to sit with them.

sit with us app

It may seem like a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of a large school, but Natalie doesn’t think so. She tells The Washington Post, “…once you get people in the mind-set, it starts to change the way students think about each other. It makes a huge difference in how they treat each other.”

All I can hope is that I am raising little Natalie Hamptons, who care about the loneliness of others; and that, if my children ever feel alone, they find another Natalie Hampton, as well. Bravo to this young woman who set out to create something that, “…addresses bullying, but in a positive way.” Your resilience is an encouraging and beautiful thing to behold, Natalie!



RachelKiser_200TallAbout Rachel Kiser

Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.

View all posts by Rachel Kiser here.

4 Comments on “Former Victim of Bullying Natalie Hampton Creates App So No Kid Ever Has to Eat Lunch Alone at School”

  1. I just watched Miss Hampton on the T.D. Jakes TV show. She is an inspiration to me to continue inquiring into the bullying incidents at our local AZ high school. One incident involved my 14 yr. old grandson who was very enthusiastic about entering his new school until someone vomited in his backpack 3 weeks into the semester. Going on a month+ now, of course, the school shows no enthusiasm in discovering who did it. They say the same things all the other participants of Mr. Jakes’ show said, the school claims inability to find the culprit, “no one is talking”, etc. The bullies know they are protected. That’s why they are so brazen and seemingly unstoppable. Perhaps, with Miss Hampton’s app, we can make students feel the sense of belonging we all need. Thank you, young lady, for teaching an old dog new tricks to help my grandchildren’s school years be the best they can be. You’re a special person!

  2. Great use of social media for inclusion, rather than the normal exclusion. Hope students adopt this app.

  3. What a clever idea! Hopefully, this app will get used a lot and maybe help with the bullying. It should not be happening at all but we all know that it does, no matter how hard we try, there will always be mean kids and adults. I am 63 years old and I was bullied at school and at home. Thank you for sharing this.

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