SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - October 28, 2009) - Today, staff and students of 13 Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) charter schools from Long Beach to Los Angeles to Pomona joined 45th District Assemblymember Kevin de Leon to accept a $65,000 education grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians. The check was presented by Edwin "Thorpe" Romero, Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, and represented $5,000 for each school as part of the Barona Education Grant program.

Since 2006, the Barona Band of Mission Indians has been helping lessen the blow of budget cuts for schools throughout California with the creation of the Barona Education Grant program, which has awarded more than $800,000 to over 165 schools statewide, including $140,000 to the SEA schools over the past two years.

"It is our Tribe's tradition to share our resources and with so many budget cuts in education, we are proud to help deserving schools across California," said Romero. "After seeing first-hand how effectively and efficiently the Soledad Enrichment Action schools used the education grant last year, we were honored to continue our efforts to help provide resources to purchase important learning tools to help their student succeed in the future."

The Los Angeles-based SEA schools are designed to provide high-risk youth and their families with alternatives to gangs, drugs and violence through educational services, counseling, exposure to the arts and experiential learning. The SEA schools will use the grant money to purchase materials and books for a sustained silent reading program.

"The Barona Education Grant Program continues to make a difference in the lives of our students," said Rami Christophi, SEA Assistant Principal of Highland Park. "We are thankful for their support for the second year in a row, especially during these difficult times."

The Barona Education Grant Program is the first of its kind in California created and administered by a Tribal Government. The goal of the program is to create strong educational opportunities for the children of California building upon the success of the Barona Indian Charter School, which operates under a continuous improvement model.

Schools throughout California can apply for educational grants from Barona to purchase much-needed supplies and materials that promote academic improvement. Each grant awarded by the Barona Education Grant Program is $5,000. Applications can be downloaded at

The Barona Band of Mission Indians has lived in Southern California for over 5,000 years and the Barona Indian Reservation since 1932. The Tribe was once a semi-nomadic band that traveled across Southern California in tune with the seasons and what nature provided. It is now a sovereign government operating Barona Resort & Casino, San Diego's premier luxury resort and casino.

Contact Information: CONTACT: Sheilla Alvarez 619-402-0182 Kelly Jacobs Speer 619-933-5013