Katie Van Sloun, 15, of Waukee and daughter of Bill and Charmaine Van Sloun, was crowned 2014 National American Miss Iowa Junior Teen on May 4 at the state pageant in Waterloo.
Van Sloun defeated 105 contestants to win the title, which is judged on inner beauty, poise and presentation.
"I was in shock," said Van Sloun. "As they were calling the runners up I just thought to myself, ‘it’s fine if I don’t place. It just wasn’t my year and all these other girls have worked hard and deserve it too.’ But then when they called my name as the winner I could barely breathe. I still can’t believe I won."
Van Sloun has an impressive list of activities and achievements that contributed to winning the crown.
A year ago, she started a non-profit charity, A Doll for All, that provides hand-made dolls for children in orphanages.
"I hand make dolls at sewing parties I host with my friends and send them off to orphanages,"
Van Sloun said. "My grandma taught me how to sew and I wanted to make a difference with my new skill. When I was younger I was bullied and felt lonely at times and couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be all alone in an orphanage without your parents. I am praying that these dolls give joy to the kids and let them know that they are loved." Van Sloun recently sent 150 dolls to Costa Rica and Africa.
She also serves on the national board for the Miss Amazing Pageant, a pageant for disabled girls and women, volunteers at Child Serve and the Boys & Girls Club, enjoys sketching, and playing on the varsity volleyball team for Iowa Christian Academy. Van Sloun will compete for the national title in California this November with a chance to win a Ford Mustang convertible.