Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton is a Los Angeles high school junior, anti-bullying activist, app developer and the CEO of a non-profit called Sit With Us, Inc. Severely bullied in middle school, Natalie was forced to eat lunch alone nearly every day. After she switched schools, and quickly fell in with a great friend group, she would invite anyone who was eating alone to join her. Those people became her friends, friends with everyone in the group, and were invited to social gatherings. She saw that one simple act of kindness made a big difference in their lives. This inspired her to create the Sit With Us mobile app, which serves as a free lunch planning tool for middle and high school kids so that no one has to eat lunch alone. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends. They can also volunteer to be Sit With Us Ambassadors for their schools and post open lunch events on campus so that anyone looking for a table to join can find one.
The app has been featured as one of the “New Apps We Love” by Apple, been downloaded by 100,000+ people in seven countries worldwide, and garnered the attention and acclaim of international media and press.
Natalie has spoken at conferences such as “Girls Can Do” (Washington D.C.) and Renaissance Weekend (Charleston), and spreads her message to schools by visiting in person or via Skype. Recently, she was an invited speaker at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as Say No Bullying’s annual festival. Natalie is also proud to be partnering with six prominent anti-bullying organizations, including Born This Way Foundation, PACER and Champions Against Bullying. In addition to creating the Sit With Us app, Natalie volunteers extensively for her community. She is a counselor for United in Harmony, a non-profit organization that runs a sleep away camp for underprivileged and homeless kids, and she tutors underprivileged kids at the Otis Booth campus of Children’s Institute International.