SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - May 6, 2016) - Students and teachers at Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School received a $5,000 Barona Education Grant today from the Barona Band of Mission Indians. The grant will fund landscaping materials such as soil, tools, new irrigation tubing, seeds, planters, a shed and gardening books for students to bring their dormant school garden back to life.

Barona Tribal Chairman Clifford LaChappa presented the check to the grant's sponsor Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Principal Tim L. Suanico, ED.S.

"We are so grateful to the Barona Band of Mission Indians for their donation," said Joyner Principal Tim Suanico. "The grant monies will be used to develop a garden that will provide hands-on, real-world experiences and applications that naturally come when children have access to a garden that has been developed to strengthen education."

Located in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, Joyner Elementary is focused on students creating a microcosm of the real world inside the school. Through hands-on learning, the curriculum is designed to develop students who are critical thinkers, problem solvers and leaders. 

"School gardens offer hands-on learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math, language arts, nutrition and entrepreneurship," said Assemblywoman Gonzalez. "Most importantly, a revitalized school garden helps Joyner Elementary reach its goals for a healthier, more united City Heights community."

Since 2006, the Barona Band of Mission Indians has awarded over $2.6 million to 533 schools statewide to help bridge school budget gaps and share resources through its Barona Education Grant Program.

"The curriculum at Joyner Elementary is innovative in its approach to shaping the minds of young entrepreneurs," said Clifford LaChappa, Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. "We're proud that our Barona Education Grant will help revitalize their garden program and give students tangible skills and prepare them for future success."

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

About the Barona Band of Mission Indians
The Barona Band of Mission Indians, recognized by the United States government as a sovereign nation, has lived on the Barona Indian Reservation in rural eastern San Diego County since 1932. Prior to that, the Tribe lived on the Capitan Grande Reservation, which was established by the federal government in 1875. Long before living on a reservation, the Tribe traveled across Southern California in tune with the seasons and what nature provided. Today, the sovereign nation, governed by an elected Tribal Council, is serving its Tribal members, their families, and sharing with the San Diego region. One of the most successful gaming Tribes in the country, Barona also owns and operates the Barona Resort & Casino, San Diego's leading gaming resort, casino and golf course. For more information, visit

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