Sundiata Kata has worked at the San Diego Center for Children for more than 42 years. As the Director of Music he has harnessed the power of rhythm to help Center students adopt new ways of dealing with their anger, emotions and suffering. The powerful inspiration of music used for outcomes that have less to do with music and more to do with health and well-being is changing the lives of children at the San Diego Center for Children, restoring trust and hope in children who have suffered trauma, abuse, or have severe behavioral and emotional challenges. Through music, Kata helps these children cope with their pain and destructive behaviors.

The HealthRHYTHMS programs help reduce stress and were developed to be a creative outlet for the challenging emotions that the children process on a daily basis. Through the San Diego Center for Children’s hands-on music program, children and adolescents can express themselves and sense feelings of accomplishment. Kata sees more than 100 students each week, having them participate in HealthRHYTHMS and choir. He and his staff provide jazz and rock music lessons, and teach students express creatively what they've seen in their lives through blues music.

The San Diego Center for Children honored Sundiata Kata at a ribbon cutting ceremony that took place on Thursday, October 20th 2011. The new Sundiata Kata Music Center allows more children and teens to participate in beneficial music activities. The expansion was helped in part by a $45,000 grant that was presented by the San Diego Women’s Foundation earlier this year. The ribbon cutting event included performances by children and teens at The Center, including solo pieces and dance routines. Mayor Jerry Sanders attended and presented a city proclamation commemorating October 20, 2011 as Sundiata Kata Day in San Diego. A representative from Supervisor Ron Roberts’ office also served a proclamation honoring this day as Sundiata Kata Day in San Diego County. Additionally, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf commented on how many lives Kata had positively influenced throughout the past four decades.

Articles about Sundiata Kata

San Diego Union Tribune Article: An Instrument for Good 

City of San Diego: Sundiata Kata Music Center Ribbon Cutting

U-T San Diego: The value of learning music plays out to young students