The Dollar Detectives Reality Check Program
The Dollar Detectives' (TDD) Origin
The spark for TDD began around the kitchen table during the pandemic. A group of social purpose driven youth and parents recognized a challenge: the knowledge gap within youth financial education and the higher unemployment rate and precarious work among youth. Our conversations led us to recognize a deeper issue—underserved youth could benefit from additional support in not only enhancing their money skills but also opportunities to practice budgeting skills by earning money.
What program can be created when blending our Money Mystery program, our Skills for Life program with a friendly competition? A creative new program called Reality Check! This innovative financial education and life skills program is designed to empower underserved Calgary youth. This program will not only provide essential skills but youth will practice skills in a fun, friendly competition!
Money Mystery Program: youth detectives will crack the case on three money mysteries modules. Super sleuth detectives will investigate and solve money mysteries with game based, interactive and hands on activities.
Skills for Life Program: an applied workshop where detectives put their skills to practice through grocery shopping and cooking on a budget. This workshop is bolstered by a certified nutritionist sharing knowledge on nutrition, meal preparation and kitchen safety.
Dollars and Dreams Competition: to put theory into practice and to demonstrate their learning, youth will participate in a Dollars and Dreams event. During this friendly competition event, youth are assigned a random annual income before traveling to booths like housing, clothing, insurance, and childcare to make virtual payments from their budget. Six frugally minded youth detectives will earn a Good Deed Grant.
This comprehensive five-week program is not just about teaching; it's about molding financially savvy, responsible, and self-reliant youth who will make a positive difference in their communities. Our program is complemented by our Detective Deeds Initiative. Detective Deeds are acts of love and kindness towards self and others. To celebrate their achievement youth will earn a personalized, digital certificate from The Dollar Detectives upon finishing the Reality Check program.
We are proud to be one of the very few black and woman-led, not for profit social enterprises dedicated to youth!
Who Will it Benefit?
Youth: the primary beneficiaries are youth who will participate in the Reality Check Program. By gaining essential financial literacy and life skills, these youth will be equipped to make informed financial decisions. The skills acquired will foster independence, bolster confidence and enhance decision-making capabilities.
Grant recipients: the winners of the Dollars and Dreams competition will not only receive monetary grants but also an invaluable boost in self-esteem and recognition for their efforts. This can support further educational pursuits, acquire essential tools like laptops, or invest in other professional growth opportunities.
Not for Profits: chosen not for profit partners will have access to TDD's Reality Check Program extending their reach and access to new service offerings available for their own clients and families.
Families of youth: as youth become financially literate and practice their life skills at home, families can benefit from improved budgeting, healthy nutrition and saving tips. As youth become champions of smart financial practices, they can share information with family and friends.
Businesses: Dollars and Dreams booths are hosted by local volunteers from their correlating industries. Youth will be able to connect with local businesses to get real world information. Businesses get to see firsthand youth’s decision-making processes.
In essence, while the direct benefits are reaped by the participating youth and not for profits, the long-term advantages extend to families, businesses and the broader community, fostering a financially savvy, responsible, and vibrant socio-economic environment in Calgary!