Christine Stuart photo

The south lawn of the state Capitol was littered with stuffed animals from Winnie the Pooh to a beanie baby wearing a Justin Timberlake t-shirt.

“How many do you think there are?” one student from Brien McMahon High School asked.

Five hundred, maybe 700? No.

There were more than 1,500 stuffed animals. One for every child abused last year in Fairfield County. Students said that number represents 16 percent of the 8,500 children abused last year in the state.

Students from the Center for Youth Leadership at the Norwalk school collected the stuffed animals from members of the community in an effort to raise awareness about the issue of child abuse.

Christine Stuart photo

Carly Cordovano, a freshman at Brien McMahon, said the issue is important to her because it’s not something that people think about or talk about very often. She said it’s sad that so many children go home and are neglected or abused. She said people should be doing more to stop it.

Cordovano said she volunteers at a local shelter where they throw fashion shows and princess parties for the abused and neglected children.

This is the second year in a row students have highlighted the issue of child abuse by creating a display representing the number of abused children on the lawn of the Capitol.

“For the second year in a row, these Norwalk students have come to the Capitol to remind us all that in our state, now as much as ever, we cannot forget the thousands of Connecticut children who have no voice,” Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said.

“This is a stirring example of how we must never forget how prevalent child abuse is in our society,” Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said. “It knows no bounds—economic, social or geographic. It is unacceptable and preventable, and I applaud the young people from Brien McMahon who are demanding that we as leaders do everything we can to eliminate child abuse.”

At the end of the day, the stuffed animals on display will be donated to shelters and other organizations working toward ending child abuse.