Youth work
"I learned that if I am not shy, others won't be either. This was so awesome." - Teenage participant in the ‘Mindblast’ programme, Ontario, Canada

The need

Throughout the developed world, young people are grappling not only with the physical and psychological process of transitioning into adulthood, but also the specific challenges created by social media, intoxicants, and the constant pressure to acquire and define themselves through material possessions. Many of them will lack the supportive relationships and empathetic understanding that are needed during this critical phase in their development.

Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom proposes that every young person has a unique capacity to make a positive difference in the world, providing they are given the necessary encouragement and support. Through training youth workers and parents to be positive role models, and through providing a flexible and affirming framework to explore life’s major questions, from “Who am I?” and “What is my potential?” to “What is the meaning of life?” it empowers young people to develop self-confidence, build better relationships, and find direction and purpose.

What Universal Education offers youth workers

If you are a youth worker, participating in a Universal Education learning programme will give you resources and methods that can be directly incorporated into your daily work, whether group activities, one-to-one, or the challenges of collaborating with or managing your own team.

The emphasis that Universal Education places on thinking for yourself - on intrinsic rather than extrinsic authority - and its interactive methodologies make it naturally suited to working with young people. Using exercises, mindfulness, discussion and the arts, it is designed to encourage critical thinking and self-reflection, and is flexible and adaptable to any situation.

In Canada, the Pine River Manual developed out of several years of group work in a residential centre for young people with addictions. The 16 Guidelines have also been used in a youth penitentiary in North Carolina, USA; with young people suffering from homelessness and domestic abuse in the UK; as the basis for school counselling in New Zealand; and in a youth leadership programme in South Africa.


The benefits that have been observed amongst young people include a greater sense of motivation and purpose; improved communication with people of different ages and cultures; greater insight into particular issues such as drug dependency; and an increased capacity for personal reflection.

Next steps

Get inspired by browsing the information and stories on this website, and find out more about FDCW-recognised programmes such as Transformative Mindfulness Methods and The 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life.

Participate in a Universal Education learning programme yourself, as an educator or youth worker or college administrator. After building confidence and familiarity, you are welcome to share or adapt what you have learned in your own educational setting.

Request FDCW to provide a learning programme that is specifically tailored to the needs of your school, college or youth group.