Being active in the community is important to Ashley Blunk.
So in seventh grade, Blunk got involved with the Papillion Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council.
“I just wanted to help out and get involved in the community,” she said.
For her work on the council, the 17-year-old won the ABC Summer of Service Award from the Youth Service America organization last month.
The Papillion-La Vista High School senior accepted the award and a $1,000 check on behalf of the council.
“I never thought it would happen,” Blunk said. “I thought there would be so many people applying.”
The money will go toward the council’s budget.
“I was just so happy that we had the opportunity to be given that money to help put toward our projects,” Blunk said.
Blunk is a two-time president of the council. In the role of president, she runs the group’s meetings, creates meeting agendas and serves as the main contact between the council and city employees.
The council usually recruits members between eighth and ninth grades. Those interested can apply online or at Papillion City Hall.
“It’s all basically word of mouth,” Blunk said. “If I find somebody I think would be good, I say, ‘Hey, you should join our council.’”
The nearly 40-member council helps to organize many city events, including Papillion Days.
They also help with Halloween Safe Night at Papillion-La Vista High School, the city’s Easter egg hunt and the Extreme 5K.
“We’re so blessed with having such an amazing, positive community,” Blunk said. “I feel like it’s our job as citizens to give back. I like to help out any way I can.”