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The After Trauma Empowerment Network (ATEN)

The After Trauma Empowerment Network (ATEN)

The After Trauma Empowerment Network (ATEN)

“The first principle of recovery is the empowerment of the survivor” (Judith Herman)

The After Trauma Empowerment Network (ATEN) is a non-profit organization located in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. ATEN was founded in January 2020 by Margaret Mauger and Vida Woodworth to meet a need in their community for services for individuals living with the mental health impact from trauma. ATEN’s mandate is to empower all gender individuals, families and communities affected by trauma to live an empowered life to reach their fullest potential.

ATEN offers no-fee trauma-informed counselling therapy, support, resources, education, presentations, accompaniment, groups, and programming for individuals affected by trauma. Individuals can be referred by doctor or other service provider or they can self-refer for services. The ATEN office is located at 5 Mill Village Road, Suite 205, Shubenacadie (the courthouse building). Services are provided by appointment only.

“Trauma is the lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person's sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships. Long after the traumatic event occurs, people with trauma can often feel shame, helplessness, powerlessness and intense fear” ( Types of trauma may include: physical abuse/assault, sexualized abuse/assault, neglect, bullying, harassment, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, forced displacement/separation, war, life-threatening illness, intergenerational (passed down), and witnessing someone else experience a traumatic event. Traumatic events can be isolated or repeated, ongoing events. What is traumatic for one person might not be traumatic for someone else.

Post-traumatic growth (PTG) refers to victims/survivors of traumatic events cannot only heal from their trauma, but may grow into a stronger, more driven, and more resilient person because of their trauma. Healing and recovery from trauma is possible. This process begins with empowerment – gaining a sense of power and control back in yourself and your life after experiencing trauma. Like trauma, healing and empowerment look different for everyone.

After the tragic mass shooting in April 2020, Mauger designed and quilted a Nova Scotia Strong quilt as a community fundraiser and to help her process her shock and grief at the devastating events and loss in her community. As a current fundraiser, ATEN is selling squares and hearts for a Community Heroes Quilt. Supporters can purchase a square/heart and have their name (or any name/word they choose) embroidered on their space. The completed quilt will then be displayed at various businesses in the area.

In April 2021, Mauger and Woodworth began hosting weekly 1 hour MAAT (Music & Art After Trauma) Sessions. MAAT Sessions include discussions about trauma and mental health along with guests (musicians and artists). Sessions are recorded and uploaded to ATEN’s YouTube channel. Funding for Project MAAT was provided by the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

Additional information about services, the Community Heroes Quilt and MAAT can be found on ATEN’s website Telephone: 902-758-3967; Email:

ATEN provides their services and programing with the assistance from volunteers, financial grants, donations and fundraising activities.

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