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Anthony Barr And His Mother Team Up To Provide College Aid For Single Parents

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Antavia Paredes-Bealieu is a single mother graduating from Metro State University this month.

Her next step is attending the University of Minnesota to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry after receiving a prestigious 3M Fellowship.

As a mother to a 10-year-old, full time student, and part-time employee, Paredes-Bealieu needed a hand. She earned a scholarship designed with the specific needs of a single mother in mind. She described it saying, "you are able to use it for childcare you are able to use it buy your groceries you are able to use it to buy cough medicine if you need it for your kid."

That insight comes from a ferocious hitting NFL linebacker and his mother who know exactly what life is like for students like Paredes-Bealieu.

Together, they founded an organization with a perfect catchy name.

"Raise the Barr was inspired by our own experiences, me becoming a young single mom at the age of 19 and having to figure out our lives and how I was going to support my growing family," said Lori Barr.

Lori Barr did it with the help of extended family. Now, Raise the Barr acts as an extended family with an outreach they say touches at least 500 lives. Their research shows the average income of students entering their program is $16,000 a year, but skyrockets to $64,000 after getting a degree.

That energizes a player nominated as the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Anthony Barr calls community service work addicting.

"Just to see these moms and dads and children grow up from 6 or 7 years ago it's pretty cool to see how far they've come and you can really feel and see their appreciation and you can really see the effect it's had on their lives you know they look happier. They look healthier," said Anthony Barr.

We may not see Anthony Barr again in a Vikings uniform, but he and his mother are committed to the program in Minnesota as they create a legacy that will extend well beyond his playing career.

"We want to continue to impact in a positive way and continue to change lives. Like I said, just because I'm no longer in purple on Sundays doesn't mean I'm not going to be present in the community," he said.

That means more great outcomes for moms like Paredes-Bealieu, her son, and generations to come.

She said she was very grateful and added," I can afford to give my son a better life if I have a college degree."

To learn more about Raise the Barr, click here.

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