Rotary Special Athletes was created with the dedicated volunteer efforts of the Glenside and Jenkintown Rotary Club members and the approval of Rotary International. Here is how it began:
In the mid-1970s Herb Lieberman, a Glenside Rotarian, had heard about Eunice Kennedy Shriver founding Special Olympics. Montgomery County was beginning to build a county program and start local teams. Herb decided that it would be a good program for Rotary members. Along with Pat Stanton, a Jenkintown Rotarian, they contacted Montgomery County Special Olympics and asked how to get involved. They were told “well, we don’t have a volleyball team”. Herb’s response was “So then we’ll start a volleyball team.” Pat and Herb contacted a local school district and spoke to their special education department to advise them of the start up Special Olympics volleyball program being planned and asked their help in promoting for team members. Another Glenside Rotarian, Paul Wilson, made arrangements for Glenside Weldon Elementary School to become the practice site. Approximately eight athletes were recruited and they came out to weekly practices that ran during the school calendar year.
Fast forward twenty years and in 1996 with a growing team and the addition of social activities beyond the realm of sports associated with the Special Olympics program; there became a need to create a separate organization.
Rotary Special Athletes was born!