By Cindy Hsu

PATERSON, N.J. (CBS 2) — Budget cuts at School 21 in Paterson may have taken away its art and music teacher, but thanks to the family of a former student from Glen Rock, art has made a comeback in a very creative way.

Christopher Barron was passionate about life, loved creating comic books and even sold them on his front lawn. However, the 9-year-old boy died in 2007 after a brave battle with Leukemia.

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Barron’s mother, Suzanne, told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu her son really “lived life” in his nine short years. She said that while her son had passed away, she felt she could have a positive impact on the lives of other children.

“My need to parent and do for him didn’t stop. It’s almost like I’m doing for Christopher by helping other children,”

Suzanne Barron said.

Now, thanks to the Christopher Barron Live Life Foundation, students at the Paterson school previously attended by the young boy are able to participate in comic book writing workshops, taught by professional comic book writer Alex Simmons.

“I thought it was powerful that she wanted to take her love for him and what had happened and translate it into something positive for other people,” Simmons said.

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This year, students at School 21 lost their arts program to funding cuts, leaving the school of 700 children without even a librarian. Students who spoke with Hsu told her how much they really loved the comic book class.

“It’s fun and I like to draw a lot, and when I grow up I wish I be an artist,” 11-year-old Franklin said.

“It’s important because you get to express yourself,” 10-year-old Ayana said.

The workshop runs for 6 weeks. The students all know Christopher’s story, have seen his comic books and have been inspired by his passion.

“I don’t know if I could draw like him, but I wish I can,” 10-year-old Jose said.

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“It really validates the kids imagination and helps them believe in themselves and empower them to know that they can do anything in life as long as they just give it their best,” Suzanne Barron said.

Cindy Hsu