Jefferson Award Winner: Paul Solberg-Supporting Sparta youth - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Jefferson Award Winner: Paul Solberg-Supporting Sparta youth

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Sparta, WI (WXOW) -

Paul Solberg has a soft spot for area youth.

"A lot of kids don't get the break they need. The Boys & Girls Club is a great place for them to get the extra support and reinforcement," said Solberg.

18 years ago, as a way to give the kids at the club Halloween fun, Solberg and the other founding board members held their first haunted house.

"We shut the club down for a day and created a little haunted event for the kids for the day for entertainment day and they loved it and they said 'This is cool. Can we bring mom and dad and grandpa back?', so we said sure.  We thought if we could charge them a dollar or two. So the first year I think we made $250," said Solberg.

That little haunted house is now called the House of Shadows and it brings in $50,000 a year for Sparta Boys & Girls Club. 80 volunteers help make it a success. 

"The middle school students and the high school students we have volunteer at the House of Shadows are from really different backgrounds. We have athletes. We have some music students and some students that don't belong to any of those particular groups. But to see them come together and work together side by side-they have a lot of respect for one another. They work together well despite their differences," said Solberg.   

Solberg says the key to volunteering consistently is do something you love.

"I think if you have passion about something you are doing it's contagious.  You're excited about it.  You talk about it.  You generate enthusiasm and enthusiasm catches on.  If you feel you have to do it.  You shouldn't be doing it. You should feel that you want to do it," said Solberg.

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