Sister Carmen Community Center is a non-religious 501(c)3 nonprofit serving East Boulder County for over 40 years. Our origins stem from Sister Carmen Ptacnik, a Catholic nun that was assigned by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1970 to assess the needs of the people in Lafayette, Colorado. We retained Sister Carmen’s name to commemorate her charitable interest in our community.
Sister Carmen Ptacnik became very well-known in the community for her efforts to support those in need. Because of her Spanish speaking abilities, she was also able to connect with and provide support to monolingual communities. The community embraced her humanitarian efforts and began to respond with donations of food, clothing, toys and household goods for her to distribute to people in need.
In 1976, Sister Carmen Ptacnik returned to her home state of California. The legacy of compassion she built in Lafayette was carried on through community members John Fiorini, Anita Fiorini, Karl Matz, Sister Mariana, and later by Sister Mary Loretta.
John Fiorini and his employer, IBM, provided the initial seed money to officially start the Sister Carmen Community Center nonprofit on October 25, 1976. The Center was housed in a small area of the Scientific Cleaners building on East Baseline Road.
One year later, in 1977, the Center opened the Thrift Store where clothing and household items were offered for sale at minimal prices. The Thrift Store revenue generated some operating income for the Center while providing low-income families the option to purchase items they need at very low costs. Those who could not afford to purchase the items could meet with Sister Mary Loretta to receive their requests at no charge. The Thrift Store continues to operate today and provides a steady stream of income that helps to fund the full range of supportive services we offer to the community.
Solely staffed by volunteers till 1986, SCCC continued to grow, and moved into and out of several locations in Lafayette. In April 2002 SCCC moved to 701 West Baseline Road, Lafayette, CO, a facility built by the City of Lafayette on land donated by the Lafayette Masons. We outgrew that location and opened our second additional location at 655 Aspen Ridge in Lafayette on July 5, 2011.
SCCC continues Sister Carmen Ptacnik’s legacy of compassion not only by providing assistance with basic needs, but also through advocacy and family centered programming that supports the entire family during a challenging time.