Our Story

Meet our Founder

Welcome to The Dollar Detectives!

I am Guirlene Joseph, the proud founder of The Dollar Detectives.

I am a passionate advocate for building social and emotional well-being through enhanced financial skills, strength and confidence. Here at The Dollar Detectives, my team and I help youth ‘crack the case’ on how to achieve a balanced and optimistic approach to their finances and their future.

The seed for The Dollar Detectives took root early in my life. At 7 years old, having recently immigrated to Canada from Haiti, I was put in charge of my family’s finances. As you can imagine, it was both overwhelming and eye-opening to be paying the bills, stretching the budget, and helping my hard-working but ever-struggling parents understand this new financial landscape.

The challenge and scarcity of these early years taught me a lifetime worth of lessons but unfortunately my hard-knock education did not end there. Leaving home as a teenager, an unplanned pregnancy and being in an unsafe relationship were all harsh realities that further cemented the critical need for financial security and independence.


Guirlene Joseph is an Accredited Financial Counsellor of Canada (AFCC). In addition to holding her AFCC and Sociology Degree, Guirlene also holds her Canadian Securities Certificate, Financial Literacy Certificate, Financial Fitness and Problem Gambling Certificate and Bookkeeping Certificate.

Guirlene has provided both financial and social counselling services for Scotiabank, Government of Alberta, Money Mentors, the YWCA of Calgary, Woods Home, Calgary Distress Centre, the Canada Revenue Agency and a number of small businesses. She is a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).

The Dollar Detectives’ programs blend social-emotional principles enabling youth to feel confident and responsible in their community, to make good decisions, to build healthy and positive relationships and to be caring global citizens. Youth learn life lessons required to succeed and be happy in a safe and inclusive learning space.

Our programs are designed to empower youth to take charge of building their confidence. We teach youth financial concepts as a cumulative process with sequential, age-appropriate information. In the classroom, youth learn basic concepts and gradually move on to more complex concepts. We apply this same principle to financial well-being.

With frequent exposure to financial concepts, youth’s skills will sharpen resulting in improved financial capacity. Our approach lays a solid foundation for enhanced critical thinking, knowledge retention and financial confidence. We created an amazing platform for youth to learn about money while building their social-emotional, leadership and self-efficacy skills.


Our Principles

Our Purpose

Delivering quality education in meaningful ways to help eliminate economic inequality.

Our Mission

To prepare and empower today’s young people through quality programs with the relevant skills needed for financial stability.

Our Vision

A network of caring, globally minded youth who contribute to the well-being of their family and the resiliency of their community.

Our Values

Passion, Integrity, Transparency, Quality
  • Passion: With passion at the heart of what we do, we cultivate excitement for our mission, our team, our client and stakeholder’ successes.
  • Integrity: We work with integrity both individually and collectively. Every action we take embodies the highest standard of honesty, fairness, and respect for all. 
  • Transparency: We value and uphold open communication and transparent practices to maintain trust within our team, our clients and stakeholders.
  • Quality: We strive for high quality services to best serve our clients, team, and community. We genuinely care about the holistic wellbeing of our people and delivering quality in every interaction is our promise to you

Our Objectives

The Dollar Detectives build on the existing strengths of youth and young adults, typically 15 – 24 years old, to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to succeed in adulthood. We help them foster partnerships with other teens, their family, their school, and their community, which allows them to apply and practice their knowledge in the real world. These collaborations have a positive impact on all aspects of our participant’s lives.

We help position our youth on the path to financial, emotional, and social by:

  • Enhancing youth employability by offering job-related experiences through volunteer and/or experience-based learning opportunities.
  • Increasing youth life and future-ready skills by focusing on financial literacy, social and personal interest activities.
  • Expanding youth support network by providing access to trusted professionals and fostering social connections through community engagements and resources.
  • Building youth social-emotional skills by teaching them coping strategies, how to make good decisions, build healthy relationships, and be a responsible global citizen.
  • Delivering a holistic and family-centred approach by offering optional family financial counselling in conjunction with youth program.

Financial literacy, life skills and social-emotional learning are common threads in our unique hands-on and scenario-based learning programs. The lessons taught are intentionally flexible to support youth and their families in incorporating the strategies into their unique day-to-day life.