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June 12, 2012 > Counseling Corner: Cool Jobs in the Tri-City Area

Counseling Corner: Cool Jobs in the Tri-City Area

Hayward resident finds work satisfaction by providing opportunities for the community

By Frances Li

This Counseling Corner features a guest columnist who has written a lovely and informative article on working in a Recreation District. Let me introduce her - Frances Li is an art major at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. In hopes of finding her own path, she has recently taken an interest in researching careers. Li has had a lifelong love of Harry Potter, hamburgers, and Bay Area sunsets. She was raised in the East Bay and now lives in Hayward. - Anne Chan, Ph.D.

Jennifer Koney's office looks out over the beautiful Hayward shoreline; she is lucky enough to be greeted with salty breezes and a diverse range of wildlife every day. You might assume that this would be her favorite part about working for Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, but her list of favorites is surprisingly lengthy. Koney has the opportunity to provide educational and recreational programs to an array of people of all age ranges.

Hayward Area Recreation and Park District has provided beautiful parks and recreation activities to the cities of Hayward, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and unincorporated districts of Ashland, Cherryland and Fairview since 1944. Koney began working for H.A.R.D. (its local name) five years ago but her experience in recreation goes much further back.

Koney's 26 year background in recreation started with a passion for art and teaching kids. With a newly minted art school degree, Koney found herself with her first teaching job at Studio One, the City of Oakland's arts center in north Oakland. Working there, she discovered a knack for administration and was quickly promoted to the position of Children's Program Director. Koney then set to work creating city-wide after school and summer art programs as the full time city-wide arts Program Director and Recreation Supervisor for Oakland. With this experience under her belt, she then became a Recreation General Supervisor - overseeing half of the recreation centers in Oakland.

Koney's decision to move to H.A.R.D. was motivated by a desire to be closer to her roots - working with kids and the arts. As a Recreation Supervisor, she finds that modifying her experience in recreation to nature-based programs was an easy transition. Koney oversees the nature unit, Douglas Morrisson Theatre, adult special interest classes and East Ave. summer day camps (where she is known as "Pickleweed"). Her nature unit includes Sulphur Creek Nature Center - including the wildlife rehabilitation center - and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. On top of being able to provide so many high quality services to the community, Koney is very happy in her position. She finds satisfaction in knowing that her work is a benefit to society and "loves being able to provide excellent services to people that they really enjoy and want."

Jean Clark, Jennifer's co-worker who supervises the visual arts and dance portions of the District's cultural arts programs, is able to experience first-hand the benefits of Jennifer's positive attitude. Clark describes her to be "extremely driven and focused" yet "compassionate and understanding which creates a wonderful working team". At H.A.R.D., Koney has found an ideally balanced workplace that fulfills her passion for nature, arts, enriching lives and public service.

H.A.R.D. offers a number of exciting and educational activities for the summer months. Some of the programs Jennifer oversees (which she describes as "the cream of the crop") are the summer camps at East Ave. Park (Camps Tenderfoot, Potowatomi, and Vida Nueva), Wildlife Camp at Sulfur Creek, Bay Camp at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, and performances of 'Member of the Wedding' at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre! If you'd like more information regarding H.A.R.D. programs, visit or call (510) 881-6700.

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers, lives, and relationships. She can be reached at 510-744-1781. Her website is

(c) Anne Chan, 2012

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