Heels on the Ground

HOTG’s mission is to improve the quality of life for caregivers of America’s wounded soldiers.
Allison Hughes
Chicago, Illinois
United States
2 Team Members


Heels on the Ground’s (HOTG) mission is to improve and enrich the quality of life for caregivers of America’s wounded soldiers by providing local support networks, workshops and holistic retreats.  

Like the wounded service member, caregivers face enormous pressures and make tremendous sacrifices, yet there are few options for healing caregivers. HOTG provides ongoing, customized support for caregivers, guiding them through the healing process and empowering them to make lasting transformations to their health so that they can thrive in the face of these challenges. As the caregivers thrive, so will their spouses and families.

HOTG firmly believes that the benefits of peer support groups, education, personal goal setting, meditation, relaxation and physical wellness can greatly improve a caregiver’s ability to cope with stress.  HOTG’s holistic approach combines these methods to promote health and well-being within the caregiver community.

HOTG was created by Allison Hughes, former Army Blackhawk pilot and presently MBA student and caregiver to a critically wounded Special Forces officer. She has partnered with Katherine Malavenda, former Army officer and presently a Licensed Professional Counselor with extensive experience working with military families.  

What We Need 

With the first $50,000, HOTG will provide support for up to 40 caregivers through five dynamic channels: 1) a local support chapter; 2) individualized mental and physical wellness plans; 3) educational webinars; 4) live, quarterly workshops offering teaching skills for healing the mind and body; and 5) an annual retreat for up to 15 caregivers to build upon the skills developed in the other channels.  HOTG will increase the amount of retreats offered each year to accommodate demand. 

    The Impact

    It is estimated that there are over one million post 9/11 caregivers of military veterans, representing a growing—yet underserved—community within our nation’s military.  Programs in existence for the caregiver typically focus on the soldier and only diffusely relate to the needs of the caregiver.  HOTG will address this gap by specifically targeting the needs of caregivers of post 9/11 wounded soldiers. 

    Depression and anxiety are among the leading problems facing these caregivers.  Empirically validated research has proven the effectiveness of peer support groups, education, setting personal goals, meditation, relaxation and physical wellness in helping military populations and general caregiver populations cope with depression and anxiety. HOTG’s holistic approach combines these effective methods and is expected to be effective in promoting health and well-being within the caregiver community. In addition, these methods are easy for caregivers to transfer to daily life. 

      Risks & Challenges

      Current programs for caregiver assistance cannot meet the incredible demand. They service only a small percentage of the caregivers who struggle daily. These programs offer retreats infrequently and lack progressive, ongoing support for caregivers.  In addition, caregiver support cannot be a once yearly activity and effectively meet the needs of the caregiver population.  Caregivers are at work 365 days per year and each caregiver has a unique, complex situation requiring unique, ongoing treatment. In order for caregivers to accomplish healing, caregiver resources cannot be minimized to one event but must utilize an evolving, holistic approach encompassing their unique needs.  None of the programs in existence for caregivers today offer ongoing, individualized and holistic treatments for caregivers.

      Donation Perks

      As part of our appreciation for your donations, Rags of Honor, a veteran-run tee shirt shop in Chicago,  will be screen printing tee shirts, hoodies, beanies, and canvas tote bags with the Heels on the Ground Logo.  

        Other Ways You Can Help

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        raised by 54 people in 2 months
        23% funded
        No time left
        $50,000 USD goal
        Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
        Campaign Closed
        This campaign ended on September 19, 2014
        Select a Perk
        • $50USD
          Digital Supporter

          We will list your name on our web-site in gratitude as a supporter of the effort to HOTG.

          7 claimed
          Estimated delivery: August 2014
        • $100USD
          HOTG Beanie

          Screen printed beanie, which comes in gray, perfect for fall and winter wear.

          7 claimed
          Estimated delivery: October 2014
        • $200USD
          HOTG T-Shirt

          HOTG Logo T-Shirt with original design on the upper left chest. The apparel will be printed by Rags of Honor, a silk screen operation run by military veterans.

          6 claimed
          Estimated delivery: October 2014
        • $350USD
          HOTG Hoodie Sweatshirt

          Original and versatile hoodie sweatshirt with the HOTG logo screen printed in the upper left hand corner. Use this every weekend while relaxing around the house or functionally for heading to and from the gym on a chilly morning.

          2 claimed
          Estimated delivery: October 2014
        • $500USD
          Canvas Tote Bag

          This delightfully simple, yet ultra versatile bag is perfect for the farmer's market, books, a trip to the gym, a weekend getaway & more with the HOTG logo printed on the front pocket. Made with 100% heavy-weight cotton (super durable!). Two convenient pockets to stash keys, lip balm, sunglasses, gym clothes & goodies. Includes both shoulder straps and an extra shoulder messenger strap for added functionality and comfort.

          1 out of 150 claimed
          Estimated delivery: October 2014
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