On Thursday, May 12, 2016, ECP held its annual Teen Parent Awards Luncheon given in honor of students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to attending and participating in parenting classes. The moms and dads enjoyed a flavorful and filling lunch at Magganio’s Restaurant and received diaper and athletic bags filled with special treats for all of their hard work.

The students were also treated to a motivating talk given by Susan Slawson, First Deputy Commissioner of Recreation & Programs. Slawson, who was once a teen parent herself, spoke about the no excuses path that she took to finish high school and then establish a career. Slawson began her civil service career as a Philadelphia Police officer in the 1st District before becoming Commanding Officer of the PPD Public Affairs Unit, representing the Police Department following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Susan Slawson was appointed Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation by Mayor Nutter in June 2008. Her previous leadership with the Philadelphia Police Department as Commanding Officer of the Police Athletic League (PAL) unit from 2002-2008 prepared Slawson well for this role. PAL serves 26,000 at-risk boys and girls ages 6-18 at 26 youth centers throughout Philadelphia.

As First Deputy Commissioner for Recreation & Programs, Slawson has led Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in several transformative initiatives. Her responsibilities have included converting the 5,800 person capacity Dell Music Center into a premiere music venue; leading the Mayor’s Splash & Summer FUNd Campaign, which raised more than $1 million to help keep 69 pools open following significant budget cuts in 2009; and increasing safety at recreation facilities through strategic partnerships with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD).