LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Lori Barr was 19 when she had to pick up the phone to make a very difficult call to her parents.
“I knew they would be very disappointed, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was disappoint them,” Barr said.
When she was junior at St. Mary’s College, she had the tough task of raising a little boy on her own.
“I was going to be single. I was going to be raising a biracial boy,” she said.
“I was terrified. My heart starts pounding now just thinking about the feeling I had then,” Barr added.
However, when her new son Anthony came into the world, she fell in love.
From the very beginning, Anthony also fell in love. With football.
“I fell in love with the game right away,” Anthony Barr said.
Barr eventually matured into a star running back for Loyola High School, before his talents earned him a scholarship to play football at UCLA.
While Lori’s son found success on the field, Lori found success in education.
She became principal of St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, which where her life would take a drastic turn for the worst.
Lori Barr was caught embezzling money from the school, which led to her arrest for charging $64,000 on school credit cards.
“It was embarrassing. It was shameful, but I couldn’t stop,” she said.
The hardest thing she had to do during the whole ordeal, however, was call her son Anthony.
“I just said ‘I’ve got to tell you something, and it’s not good, but you need to know,’ and I told him everything,” Barr said.
“I’ve never had anything against her,” Anthony said.
“She always raised me the right way, always did everything by the book, so I forgave her, you know, instantly, and she paid her dues, and we moved on from that,” he added.
While Lori was sentenced to six months in jail, things would end up OK for the both Anthony and Lori.
After playing football at UCLA, Anthony Barr was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
During his first year in the NFL, Barr started 12 games at linebacker for the Vikings, collecting 55 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries, three pass deflections and one defensive touchdown.
Lori, meanwhile, was chosen to be the executive director of a nonprofit organization called Shelter 37, which helps children and adults get their high school diplomas.
Shelter 37 founder James Washington is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys and mentored Anthony when he attended UCLA.
He choose Lori to be the executive director of Shelter 37 after getting to know her through Anthony during his time at UCLA.
“Everybody was telling me about her [Lori’s] past, and how, you know, can you trust her?” Washington said.
Lori said she was shocked when she found out that there was someone out there who would take a chance on her. “So, when you say value, she’s my MVP” Washington said of Lori.
Lori got a second chance and now helps others who need theirs.
When asked why she works at Shelter 37, Lori said: “It’s given me an opportunity to show my children and the young people here that you’re going to mess up, things are going to happen, but life is going to go on.”
“At the end of the day, she didn’t feel sorry for herself, she knew what she had to do to make me feel comfortable, to make me happy, and I couldn’t be more appreciative” Anthony said.