A 16 year old high school junior from Sherman Oaks, CA has created an app to help bullied students find a safe place to have lunch and make new friends.

The teen, Natalie Hampton, was inspired to create “Sit With Us” through her experience of being ostracized by classmates in the school cafeteria.

“At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day. 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,” Natalie said.

Eventually, Natalie switched schools and made new friends, but the experience stuck with her and motivated her to help others in the same situation.

Sit With Us is a free lunch-planning app that allows students to sign up as ambassadors for a Sit With Us club and to post open lunches. Other students who have nowhere to sit can use the app to find open lunches to join and make new friends.

Natalie has received support and positive feedback about Sit With Us. “So far, the results have been very, very positive. I had my first club meeting the other day, and everyone was very excited. And people are already posting open lunches at my school. So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start,” she said.

Sit With Us launched on September 9 and is available on The Apple Store.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.