Sister Carmen Community Center, a non-religious 501(c)3 nonprofit, has provided critical assistance to residents of East Boulder County for over 40 years. As a Family Resource Center, we have implemented expanded services and enhanced programming based on the FRC model to empower our participants to become self-sufficient.
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 [Puh-TASS-nik] came to Lafayette from California in 1970 to work with the First Daughters of Charity at Immaculate Conception Parish. Sister Carmen became well-known for her efforts to support those in need. With her ability to speak Spanish, Sister Carmen was also able to connect with and provide support to monolingual communities. The community embraced her humanitarian efforts and began to donate food, clothing, toys, and household goods for her to distribute.
After Sister Carmen went back to California in 1976, work continued on at SCCC by Deacon John Fiorini, Anita Fiorini, Sister Mary Loretta and Karl Matz. 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, and was sponsored by the Immaculate Conception Parish.
On October 18, 1977, SCCC opened a new building at 307 E. Simpson. Led by Sister Loretta, it was open four mornings a week and run by various volunteers in the community. SCCC supported community members with food, clothing, furniture, gas, toys, and English language classes for Spanish speakers.
SCCC continued to grow with the addition of a Thrift Store.
In 1986, 10 years after first opening, SCCC got its first paid staff.
After Sister Loretta left for California in 1990, the Center was run by Sister Charlotte Marie Clark. In 1995, Director Pat Thompson said the Center would purchase the building on E. Simpson Road for $120,000. She also explained the importance of a permanent home.
With high maintenance costs in the old building, SCCC needed to find a new facility. In April 2002, the Center moved to a new place on 701 West Baseline Road. This was built by the City of Lafayette on land donated by the Lafayette Masonic Lodge, and is the current site of our thrift store.
On July 5, 2011, SCCC expanded services to another location on 655 Aspen Ridge Drive. This building, which houses our food bank, administrative offices, and co-located agencies, is seven times larger than the old facility! There were huge improvements such as a loading dock, a forklift, an area for volunteers to separate food, and a community garden for fresh produce.
Today, SCCC supports thousands of Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, and Erie residents with services such as our Food Bank, Thrift Store, Community Garden, direct financial assistance, trainings, classes, and much more
History photos collected by Leslie Ogden and assembled by Steven Madachy and are on display outside the SCCC Classroom