Ted Muller was a District 65 teacher, longtime camp counselor, and lifelong Evanston resident. When Ted was growing up his family couldn’t afford camp, so he volunteered as a counselor in order to be able to participate. He saw the disparity in Evanston between the haves and have-nots. Ted was especially concerned that so many summer programs were fee-based, which made them largely unavailable to kids who needed them most.
When Kay Muller describes her deceased son, the first word she utters is “children.” “Ted had this magic with children,” she said. “It was just amazing to see. Kids melted in his presence.”
Ted’s sister, Lynn Levin, agrees. “Even when he was a little kid, Ted was always crazy for kids – even babies,” said Levin. “That’s where he felt comfortable, where he was in his element.”
When Muller died in 1996 at the age of 29, it took only a few days for his family to think of how best to honor a man who had spent many years as a camp counselor and District 65 teacher. They would find a way to give something to the children of Evanston.
Among letters the family received after Ted’s death was one from the parents of a learning disabled student who wrote: “When Ted walked into the classroom, the sun came out for our son.”
Thus the Ted Muller Camp Scholarship Fund began. What started in 1996 with a little seed money, has since grown into a significant not-for-profit organization. The fund continues to be run entirely by volunteers in donated office space. There are no paid directors or board members; every dollar donated directly benefits a child in the program.