SPARTA, NJ - In a packed room on the lowest level of a local middle school, more than thirty minutes after the last of buses departed, an oven timer beeps as the smell of freshly baked muffins fills the room. 

To some, it may have seemed perfectly innocent, “Perhaps an after-school cooking club!” you might say. But there’s a deeper meaning behind these flavorsome treats. The twenty or so students taking part in this activity are none other than Sparta Middle School’s very own Peer Leaders Club.

The club features a variety of students of both genders from grade levels sixth through eighth; a group devoted to spreading kindness throughout the sometimes difficult middle-school experience. 

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The group gathered on a Wednesday, taking an hour out of their busy schedules to work together to achieve amazing confections in partnership with another one of the school’s club, The Coffee Club, to be exact.

 The Coffee Club rises early every Friday and make their way to school, taking orders from all twenty-two of the school’s bus drivers. They provide the drivers with anything from coffee—hence the name—to hot chocolate. This Friday, the bus drivers didn’t just get a warm beverage, they were also bestowed a baked, pumpkin spice muffin thanks to the Peer Leader’s “two-cents.” 

The gratitude from the bus drivers was immense and the smiles on their faces was more than the two clubs could have ever asked for. You see, this is the drive behind Peer Leaders, witnessing—even if just for a moment—a genuine, authentic, honest-to-goodness smile on someone's face.

And the best part is, unlike the seasons, this club works all year round.

Editor's Note: This article is written by Sparta Middle School Student Peer Leader