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The Story of ATEN and the Violet Rose Gift & Thrift Shop

The Violet Rose Thrift and Gift Shop is an inseparable part of the After Trauma Empowerment Network (ATEN), a registered, non-profit mental health organization that provides free, professional, trauma-informed counselling, therapy, and peer support. Their aim is to enable individuals, families and communities affected by trauma to live an empowered life and to reach their fullest potential. Governed by a volunteer board of directors, ATEN helps the growing number of people who need mental health support, but cannot afford it.   

Vida Woodworth and Margaret Mauger, the Executive Director, were working together at the Colchester Sexual Assault Center when they realized that people who have experienced trauma need to access services without worrying about financial barriers. They co-founded ATEN in January of 2020. 

Established in October 2022, the Violet Rose Thrift and Gift Shop was recently awarded the Innovative Business of the Year after being nominated for five awards at the East Hants and Districts Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards ceremony. 

The shop is run by a part-time employee, Jessica Webb, and several volunteers. Everything in the shop is designed with trauma-informed concepts and ideas, including the colors, temperature, lighting, music, artwork and the types of items on display; for example, no toy guns. Even the number of items on display are limited, to avoid clutter, and there is in-house training for confidentiality.

Different people come to the store from all walks of life, but a particularly special little customer is a home-schooled boy who enjoys the shop because it is one of the few places that accommodate his hypersensitivity to germs.  The staff also enjoy his visits, as the little boy brings treats when he and his mom come to the store. 

One space in the Violet Rose Shop is dedicated to the gift shop, where local vendors can pay a small fee month for a rental unit to sell their products. But perhaps the most exciting part of the shop is the community room. There, all sorts of events are offered to the public free of charge, including music jam sessions, different mental health related workshops, and senior groups Chat & Craft. You can find an updated schedule on the ATEN website under the Violet Rose Gift & Thrift shop tab, as well as on their respective Facebook pages. Drop in to enjoy the event, socialize, and partake of tea, coffee and treats!

If you are interested in volunteering at The Violet Rose please visit and click on the ‘Volunteer Application Package’ link. 

Internships and placements in collaboration with local programs and initiatives are also welcome.

ATEN accepts donations from both businesses and individuals, as well as leading an annual Holiday Auction Fundraiser. Donating items to the Thrift shop is a good cause for people who want to give back to their community. Donations turn into dollars, and 100% of the proceeds from the shop go directly to ATEN to help with overall operating expenses, including the hiring of qualified therapists and day to day operations. The main reason of WUEH is to give back to our wonderful community, so we love to support ATEN! 

You can learn more about ATEN’s activities and history by visiting:
For more information about attending an event or making a donation, you can call 902-758-3967 or email
Most importantly, if you would like support for any mental health reason and you are over the age of 15 (with some exceptions) reach out to or phone 902-758-3967, regardless of your background and income.

ATEN Executive Director, Margaret Mauger accepts a donation from What’s Up East Hants. Pictured left to right are Lea-Ann Julian Administrator/Coordinator and Co-Director of ATEN, Rhonda Steeves (WUEH Financial) and Margaret Mauger.

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