AER Spotlights: Hidden Helpers — a Coalition for Military Children

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project and the White House’s Joining Forces initiative to build the Hidden Helpers Coalition to bring needed attention, research and solutions to the unexpected challenges military children and youth caregivers face. First Lady Jill Biden chose the Hidden Helpers project as her first individual event at the White House.

“We must bring hidden helpers’ service out of the shadows … and give them the support they need to thrive,” she said. “Most of all, we’re here to tell you that you aren’t ‘hidden’ anymore.”

Army Emergency Relief hosted Hannah Hutler, Hidden Heroes’ Camp Corral chief impact officer, in a recent Facebook Live to discuss this coalition and the importance of recognizing and advocating for children caregivers in the military community.

“The most recent data is showing us that there are 2.3 million children under the age of 18 who have a wounded warrior veteran parent,” Hutler said. “About 70 percent of those children are providing some form of care in their household — and that can happen in a variety of different ways.”

To showcase their commitment to these resilient children, Hidden Helpers provides real action steps in giving military children and youth opportunities to be kids and, through ongoing research focusing on the struggles and successes military kids face, for their voices to be heard.

In “15 Things Military and Veteran Kids Want You to Know,” military children said they sometimes just want to be like everyone else and have fun on the playground or at camp. Other times, it’s important to be intentional, have their voices heard and recognize their sacrifices. This video lesson goes through some of the best ways to make things easier for military children and youth, and it concludes that the most important lesson is recognizing that these kids serve, too.

Hidden Helpers is seeking out partners who are willing to take action and help the initiative better aid military and veteran families through financial support, educational and training materials, health care commitments, resource navigation and other programs. There are plenty of opportunities for anyone to get involved.

  • For more information about involvement opportunities and further research through Hidden Heroes, visit the organization’s website.
  • Watch AER Facebook Live event with Hutler to learn more about Hidden Heroes initiatives for military children.