Visalia students collect hundreds of stuffed animals for victims of child abuse

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Students at Valley Life Charter School in Visalia organized a stuffed animal drive for the Tulare County District Attorney's Office's Child Abuse Response Team. (KFSN)

Students at a South Valley school are being applauded for their selfless actions this holiday season.

Students at Valley Life Charter School in Visalia organized a stuffed animal drive for the Tulare County District Attorney's Office's Child Abuse Response Team.

During an assembly at the charter school, 5th-grader Jordan Nguyen had a simple question for his classmates: "How many of them had stuffed animals?"

"A lot of people raised their hand," he explained.

It was then that Jordan knew he could make a difference. He enlisted the help of friends, like Matthew and Janae, and together they set up a donation box near the office and posted signs around the school. The team asked students to part with their new or slightly used stuffed animal so that a victim of child abuse may have one.

"He thought beyond himself," Jordan's mom Yvonne said. "He didn't think of what he was going to get out of it, but how he could help other kids."

Yvonne says the school and community came together to help the cause, so much so that she had to store all the stuffed animals in their garage.

The drive only lasted a couple of weeks and wrapped up by winter break. There was only one thing left to do - deliver the toys to their final destination, Tulare County District Attorney's CART.

"And the DA's office was in for an early Christmas surprise when Jordan and friends dropped off the toys," Rian Johnson with the office said. "It took three cars to get them all here and plenty of trips to bring them inside."

The total came to 671 stuffed animals, and Nguyen and friends didn't expect that.

"That was surprising to me," Jordan said.

And neither did the District Attorney's Office, who thanked them for making a difference in the lives of so many vulnerable children.

"It tells me that people care about abused kids and they just want to help them as well as we do," Jordan said.

Jordan will collect stuffed animals again next year, and his goal is now 700 toys. But he's sure his classmates will continue to answer his call to bring comfort to children who suffer.

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