Thanksgiving message from Dorri McWhorter, our President & CEO
Nov 23, 2023

From Our President & CEO: The Power of Play and of Giving Thanks

On behalf of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, I want to extend best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy, safe, joyful (and hopefully delicious!) Thanksgiving holiday.  

As we embark on this season of gratitude and giving, we must acnowledge the humanitarian crises that continue to unfold here in Chicago and across the globe, along with the potential for YMCAs around the world to serve as beacons of hope for people and communities.  

The strength of the Y network can serve as a catalyst for change. It’s visible through World YMCA’s leadership in working toward peace in the Middle East, and in the global humanitarian efforts of YMCA of the USA. It's why the YMCA of Metro Chicago continues to provide shelter and resources to asylum seekers at our High Ridge Y. And, it’s precisely why we’re so determined to create places, spaces, and opportunities for play for all: to bring people together to share joyful experiences, because play inspires hope, healing, innovation, and progress.

In addition to prioritizing your gratitude and giving thanks around the dinner table later today, take time to prioritize play throughout the holiday weekend, in whatever form that takes for you. I asked the Y’s Chief Health and Wellbeing Officer, Tony Janca, about what I could do to manage my "turkey drowsiness," also affectionately known as "The Itis" in the Black community! Tony recommends making sure to enjoy the moment and the people surrounding you, even if those people think Thanksgiving food is overrated (wrong!). After the big meal, move around or take a walk, not only for digesting that second helping of potatoes but also for endorphins and stress relief. (Watching football can be stressful, especially with a full belly!) If you partake in the full-contact sport that is Black Friday, park toward the back of the lot to give yourself a few extra steps and a few extra deep breaths.

Amid the doorbusting deals and the appeals for support on Giving Tuesday that will hit your inbox in the coming days, I hope that you will keep the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago in mind. In addition to Black Friday aquatics and sports promotions at some of our Community Hubs (call your local Y for more), we’re celebrating Small Business Saturday by committing to patronize locally owned and operated establishments. On Cyber Monday, we’re highlighting the Y’s commitment to digital equity and education.

And then comes Giving Tuesday, a day I love so much that I named my dog, Tuesday, after it. (OK, that’s not entirely true. It’s just a happy coincidence.) Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement aimed at unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities. To celebrate, the Y is hosting a vitural screening of UnCharitable, a documentary that will change the way you think about philathropy and giving. The screening will be followed by a live discussion of the film featuring Scott McLellan, Executive Director of the Julian Grace Foundation, and myself, who just so happened to very proudly participate in the film!

Today and every day, thank you for being a part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago community and for your commitment to the communities we serve. Your support is truly our greatest strength, and your connection is our greatest fortune.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Dorri (and Tuesday) 

Dorri C. McWhorter
President & Chief Executive Officer
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago 

Tuesday McWhorter 
Paws-ident & Chief Treat Officer