Celebrate Bunny Williams’ Annual Garden Event Benefiting Women’s Support Services

See how you can contribute to ending interpersonal, relationship violence.
Trade Secrets 2019, Sharon, Ct

Photography by Visko Hatfield

The mission of WSS is to create social change to end interpersonal relationship violence by challenging attitudes and beliefs about power, control and gender norms, and by advocating for victims and survivors. WSS provides a confidential 24-hour crisis hotline; emergency shelter; individual support counseling for adults and youth; legal, medical and social services advocacy; support groups, community education and prevention programs. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters and the funds raised by Trade Secrets, all of WSS’s services are free of charge. Due to Covid-19, WSS made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel Trade Secrets this year.

“For as long as I can remember, CTC&G has been the lead sponsor of Trade Secrets. Founded 20 years ago in the garden of renowned interior designer Bunny Williams and her husband, John Rosselli, Trade Secrets is the go-to destination in Connecticut each summer. Of course, it is dear to our hearts because of our extensive coverage of beautiful gardens and meticulous landscaping, but also because it’s the principal fundraising event for Women’s Support Services [WSS], a domestic violence agency serving Northwest Connecticut and the surrounding communities in New York and Massachusetts.”  — Marianne Howatson, CEO, C&G Media Group

Trade Secrects 2017

Photography by Colleen Macmillan

“It’s often hard to understand when you’re walking through all these beautiful gardens and walking around Trade Secrets buying plants that there is such a problem in this part of the world with domestic violence. This is why we do what we do because we realize that a lot of families need our help.”  — Bunny Williams

Thankfully, many of the event’s underwriters converted their contributions to donations to WSS. This, combined with support from a virtual sale by our Trade Secrets vendors and a virtual garden tour of Bunny Williams’ garden—hosted by Bunny herself—helped make up some of the funds lost by the cancellation. The outpouring of support from the entire community, as well as the Trade Secrets guests, vendors, volunteers and underwriters has been truly uplifting to the entire WSS staff as they have continued their work throughout the pandemic.

During the pandemic, WSS volunteers and staff continued their enormous efforts by providing shelter, counseling and support to clients, participating in online workshops on stress management, launching a summer program with the parks and recreation staff to deliver more than 960 activity bags to children, while also providing reading and awareness activities for students with volunteer certification. As many people feel a sense of getting back to normal, WSS anticipates a significant surge in shelter and housing needs as the state reopens.

WSS also expects severe complications at court as staffers attempt to process a tremendous backlog of cases and deal with the anticipated increase in cases as more victims report abuse. With the support of the community and the help of Trade Secrets, WSS staff remain ready to advocate for clients and educate future generations to achieve their vision of a world in which everyone can be themselves, have healthy relationships, and live free of interpersonal relationship violence. We hope to see you all in 2022 for Trade Secrets, until then, you can help by visiting wssdv.org.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Trade Secrets & WSS.
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