Scecina graduate’s Project Play is serious business

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Alumni Profile: Angie (Bewsey) Lacy
Education: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Indiana University

Current position: Occupational Therapist, Central Indiana First Steps; Founder, Project Play

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

The kids didn’t have any toys to play with. Or the toys were inappropriate or broken and missing pieces.

That was heartbreaking – and just unacceptable — for Scecina graduate Angie (Bewsey) Lacy ‘88.

For 24 years, Angie has been an occupational therapist with the Central Indiana First Steps, a program that serves children from birth to 3 years of age. Her work took her into the families’ homes, where she often found there were no toys or the toys were not age appropriate.

Angie Bewsey Lacy

Angie Lacy founded Project Play to give families appropriate toys for their children’s development.

“Many families struggle to provide the necessities for their families, such as shelter, food, and clothing; therefore, toys are not always something that a family can afford,” she said. “I believe strongly in the power of play and that toys are important to help with development. I always knew there was something that I could do to help with this. Over the years, this weighed on my heart, and I finally decided in 2016 that it was time to put my ideas into action.”

That’s how Project Play was born in 2016. The nonprofit founded by Angie operates solely from donations of new and used toys and books and monetary donations and serves children from birth through the teen years. Her home garage on the Eastside of Indy is Project Play’s headquarters, full of neatly organized groups and storage containers of toys.

Project Play receives referrals for families needing toys. There are no financial qualifications to receive a referral. Once a referral is received, each child receives five toys and five books and then the toy bag is delivered to their home. And it’s not solely a Christmas project.

“We believe children need toys all year, not just for Christmas,” Angie said.

Since its founding, Project Play has provided toys and books to over 700 children.

The group finds the children who need toys by partnering with agencies and organizations that serve children and families.

“With the help of social media and word of mouth, we have been able to build our referral base, “Angie said. “We know that there are many more children in need; so, we always appreciate when people share the information on our organization.”

Receiving a Catholic education at Scecina instilled in her the value of helping others, Angie said.

“Scecina’s motto is ‘Give That Little Extra.’ That is something that I never forgot and try to live by every day. Scecina provided me with many role models that lived that motto.”

Project Play in garage

Angie Lacy’s garage is the headquarters for Project Play.

She says Scecina also offered a great education that prepared her for college. Classes in science and psychology helped spur her interest in becoming an occupational therapist, said Angie, who began her career at Riley Hospital for Children.

Angie has three children who are graduates of Scecina (Sam ’14, Zach ’16, and Hannah Burck ’19) and eighth-grader Anthony will start at Scecina next year.

Angie is a big advocate for all children. She also is a preschool teacher at Downey Avenue Cooperative Preschool.

She said her work with Project Play has been enormously rewarding.

“I now have such a sense of relief that more children are now receiving toys and books; whereas before, they may not have had access to them. I also know that there are many more families and children that could benefit from a referral to Project Play,” she said. “It is very exciting to see the children’s faces when we deliver their toy bags to them. It is also nice to see the relief on the parents’ face that their children now have toys to play with and books to read. I have met some amazing families through my work with Project Play; families that are very grateful.”

Project Play accepts donations of cash and new or gently used toys (but not toy weapons or used stuffed animals), with the money used to buy toys. They will even pick up toys if you are in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Learn more at


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