Barnes uses pageant platform to promote mental health

Shaylee Barnes

Zionsville resident Shaylee Barnes is competing for the Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen and excited to be on her home stage.

Barnes is a sophomore at Zionsville Community High School where she is involved with several clubs and projects.

“I am so excited to share my hometown with contestants from all over the state," she said. "I like having all the comforts of home, the people of our community, my friends from school being here and I like that I can share all of this with the girls in the pageant as well. I love that my friends will all get to meet one another.”

Barnes social impact statement is on the importance of mental health. Barnes' mother worked for the Lebanon’s Children Home and would take her daughter to volunteer during her shift.

“Being able to spend time with the kids at the home and learn their stories has helped shaped me," Barnes said. "I hope that by bringing attention to mental health, we can provide help early on for at risk children and adults.”

Barnes began the #formindforbody movement and is currently building a YouTube channel to help draw attention to the need for mental health awareness.

“I believe this platform is very important in our world today, many people are impacted and in need of help. I hope that by sharing the hashtag, people will start to connect.”

Barnes began competing in the Miss America pageant at age 12.

“My mom introduced me to the competitions," she said. "She thought it would be fun to be a part of Miss Fall Festival and give me an opportunity to make a lot of friends and integrate into our community. She was right.

I had a lot of fun and began building relationships with girls from all over the state. It has been really fun to make so many friends and participate in a lot of really neat volunteer work.”

One volunteer opportunity that Barnes enjoys is visiting children at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

“We visit the kids at Riley and wear our crowns, they love seeing us and talking to us," she said. "I enjoy sitting with them and hearing their stories and spending time with them.”

In 2018 Barnes won her first title and was named Miss Heart of Indiana Outstanding Teen.

“It was so exciting to win and to be able to share my excitement with so many of my friends," she said. "Being in the pageant is super fun, not only for the volunteer work, but also being able to perform on stage.”

Barnes recently won 2019 Miss East Central Outstanding Teen.

“It was very exciting to be crowned and I am just so proud to be a part of such a great group of young women,” she said.

Barnes is a vocalist and at Miss Indiana will be singing "A Million Reasons" by Lady Gaga.

“This is a beautiful song," she said. "I have been practicing a lot and I feel more prepared. I have also been working with an interview coach and improving my fitness routine.”

Barnes is one of four Zionsville title holders who will compete in Miss Indiana next month. Opening Day for Miss Indiana & Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen Competition will be Sunday, June 9, at the Golf Club of Indianapolis.

Several events are planned for state pageant week including a parade of contestants down the Brick Street and a meet-and-greet in Boone Village.

Preliminaries for Miss Indiana & Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen Competition will be held Wednesday, June 12, through Friday, June 14, at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

Finals will be held Saturday, June 15, in the PAC starting at 6 p.m.

To order tickets or view a complete schedule of events, visit missindiana.org.

The PAC is at 1000 Mulberry St., Zionsville.

Editor's note: Profiles of the other local contestants will appear in a future issue of The Times Sentinel.

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