Mead Hall students gathered at the Equine Rescue of Aiken Friday morning but it wasn't for horseplay – it was to lend a helping hand.

Mead Hall on a Mission

These children were participating in the second Mead Hall on a Mission event in which students from all grades volunteer their time to a variety of organizations.

The students are sponsored by family, friends or neighbors and each class or grade chooses an agency in the CSRA to serve. Proceeds from this event benefit Mead Hall, but 10 percent of those contributions are given to the agencies where the students volunteered.

Approximately 40 children, their teachers and guardians spent the morning at the Equine Rescue grooming ponies and horses, mucking stalls and learning about the local nonprofit.

Isabel and Richard Furlaud, who own Equine Rescue, stopped by to see the students.

“I think this is one of the most wonderful things the farm can do – to develop in young children to be around big and small animals and help them,” said Isabel Furlaud.

Amy Gore was with her daughter Mallory and said the opportunity was not only fun, but educational.

“A lot of the students are touched by the stories of why they're (animals) here,” Gore said.

The nonprofit takes in horses, dogs and other animals that were once living in harsh conditions and gives them another chance of living a happy, healthy life.

Esther Marks, 7, really enjoyed the experience and said she got a kiss from one of the farm dogs.

“Puppies. I love puppies,” Marks said excitedly.

Tyson Walker, 6, said she hadn't been around horses before but said she'd like to volunteer her time to a nonprofit like Equine Rescue in the future.

“They're pretty,” Walker said about the horses. “They're pretty nice.”

Mead Hall art teacher Dana Hunter said that what was great about the event is that the children learn what it means to volunteer and give back to their community.

“It is a fundraiser that falls in line with the identity of the school – to give and to serve,” Hunter said.

County Council Chairman Ronnie Young, County Councilman Andrew Siders and the state director for The Humane Society of the United States, Kim Kelly, were also at the Equine Rescue Friday morning and took time to speak to the students.

“You are the next generation who will help animals in need,” Young told the students. “You are the future of this county so look around and be appreciative of the animals that are here.”