SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A local teen is using her platform through pageantry to advocate for child abuse prevention.

16-year-old Lydia Quinn is from Sullivan, and currently holds the title as Miss Crossroads to America Teen and will soon be competing for the title of Miss Indiana Teen.

She said she only started competing about a year ago, and it was initially only supposed to be something fun to do.

“When I started competing I had to develop a social impact project and get really involved with my community and not just walk on stage in a pretty dress, I really liked that aspect. I loved the service aspect of it,” Quinn said.

Quinn said she knew right away that for her social impact project, she wanted to do something with child abuse prevention.

“I chose this topic because I myself was a victim of child abuse and every one in five children are and at a time in my life, I was one of the five kids who was abused. After I kind of got out of that abusive situation it was really important to me that I spoke up and used my voice for other kids who are suffering the way I did,” Quinn said.

Along with talking to different schools and sharing her story, she also created an Instagram to share warning signs and continue to raise awareness.

“The Melissa Project is a social media page that advocates for child abuse awareness and prevention. I use it to help educate the public. It’s founded in honor of my mom. My mom passed away in 2017 and I wanted to do something amazing in her name,” Quinn said.

Title holder or not, Quinn said she would love to share her story with more schools, and speak with staff about the warning signs to look out for.

“My whole life, was perfect attendance, great grades, but when I was in that abusive home, I was hardly ever at school, there was a drastic change in my behavior and kids don’t change like that just on the dot if there’s not something they’re going through. Whether I was competing or not, this is always something I’ve wanted to do but granted that I’m a title holder, it’s just given me a bigger platform to share my story on,” Quinn said.

Quinn will compete for Miss Indiana Teen starting next Wednesday, June 14.

You can follow her journey on her titleholder Instagram page @mat_crossroadsteenin.