WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The leadership of White Plains YMCA believes Thanksgiving is a day set aside for family. For the first time in over a decade, the organization’s employees will have the entire day to spend with their loved ones.
“Tom (Hay, the Y’s Executive Director) and I were upset that our staff was expected to work,’’ said Heather Bell-Pellegrino, the Y’s Associate Executive Director, who came on board in the organization with Hay in 2014. “I worked last year because I wouldn’t expect them to do something I wouldn’t. We want to honor the Y staff, by closing the facility, so that they can enjoy the day with their families.”
Bell-Pellegrino said she and Hay arrived too late last year to close the Y for Thanksgiving. This year, they made certain members knew well in advance the facility would be closed. The only other days the facility is closed is Christmas and Easter.
“Most members are fine with it,’’ Bell-Pellegrino said. “Some have given us some feedback. I consider our staff my Y family, and I spend more time with them than I do my own family. If we opened, it would only be for limited hours anyway. And we’re open the next day.”
Bell-Pellegrino also said the facility had limited use on Thanksgiving in the past few years. Given all those considerations, she and Hay felt that sending a message to their employees that they are valued was more critical than opening for a few hours on a major holiday.
“This is something we’re very proud of,’’ Bell-Pellegrino said. “We feel this is a day people should be spending with their loved ones. It’s a day of giving thanks, we’re thanking our employees for what they do.”