Here's what went through the mind of Santa Rosa 17-year-old Allyson Ahlstrom the other night as she stood, dressed like a star, on the stage of the decked-out Hollywood Palladium.
"I was thinking, how the heck did this happen?"
Allyson was there, honored by Nickelodeon as one of just four U.S. teens to be paired with a celebrity and presented a TeenNick HALO (Helping and Leading Others) Award, because she'd acted on an idea.
In 2010 she thought to help disadvantaged girls boost their confidence, self-esteem and prospects by providing them nice clothes at a fashionable non-profit boutique. Then she did the work to create the Threads for Teens shop in Windsor.
It flourishes. So does she.
Allyson had attracted numerous other honors when Nick Cannon of Nickelodeon and "America's Got Talent" showed up at her boutique in October. He announced she was a HALO winner and gave her shop a check for $10,000.
Allyson then was teamed with model, entrepreneur and youth mentor Tyra Banks in preparation for the awards gala last weekend at the Palladium. The special aired Monday on Nick at Nite and will replay at 10 tonight on TeenNick.
Weeks before the gala, cameras rolled as Allyson met up with Tyra Banks in New York, had breakfast with her, tried on outfits and learned about the program Banks runs for teens at the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
"I want to emulate her," Allyson said. She intends, too, to talk about Threads for Teens and service to others across America on a tour she'll launch late next spring.