In 1974 Sister Jean Ell began to work in Psychiatry at the St. Boniface Hospital. In the spring of 1977, Sister Ell was approached by the Board of Directors to set up a program to address the "Revolving Door Syndrome" experience in the Psychiatric Department. In mid-October of the same year Sister Ell and Lorraine Vadeboncouer, her secretary, began preliminary work in temporary offices. Thus was the birth of Sara Riel Inc.
How the name was chosen
In 1977 the founding members of the board chose the name Sara Riel, after the first Métis Religious in the west. Sara, along with her brother Louis, attended the Grey Nuns School. At the age of 18 Sara joined the Grey Nun congregation and later taught in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba.Her name was chosen to reflect the spirit of a true Manitobain, and the spirit of the Grey Nuns, which was evident in her dedicated work as a teacher and missionary.
- Sara Riel established and incorporated June 6, 1977
- Sister Jean Ell, Executive Director (1977 to 1995)
- The first client was admitted October 17, 1978
- 10 clients were admitted within six weeks to join the Community Rehabilitation Program in October 1978 (funded by a grant from Manitoba Health)
- August 27, 1990, the Work Placement Force was launched.(funded by a grant from Human Resources Development Canada). This program now receives funding from Competitiveness, Training and Trade.
- May 17, 1993 Non-denominational Spiritual Care Services offered.
- 1994 - purchase of Marion Street Apartment block for Supportive Housing Services program.
- March 28, 2000 Sara Riel Foundation Inc. was incorporated.
- December 2007 - enhanced funding provided from Family Services and Housing under Rewarding Work allows for services to be provided to an additional 45 participants, as well as to provide for a number of enhancements to the Work Placement.