Empowerment Recovery Academy (ERA)

If you’re goal oriented and eager to develop new leadership skills but have felt discouraged by or under-served in traditional classrooms and youth-serving systems; the Empowerment Recovery Academy (ERA) might be the right place for you. ERA is an intensive 21-week course designed to build on strengths and teach young adults (ages 14-21)  to empower themselves and become leaders in their lives and communities.

The ERA 21 week course is divided into three seasons

1. resiliency core skills

2. vocal leadership

3. social action

In ERA you will have fun learning skills to handle the challenges associated with transitioning into adulthood, lead under pressure, and champion change.

We pride ourselves on maintaining an optimal learning environment for all youth/young adults. This means that our spaces are safe, inclusive, and welcoming to people of all backgrounds and experiences. ERA groups are facilitated by YMO staff but are largely youth/young adult-led and collaborative.


Q: How much does it cost to be a part of ERA?

A: YMO programs are always free of cost to youth/young adults ages 14-21 with approved applications.


Q: Where is ERA offered?

A: ERA is currently offered in four Oregon counties: Clackamas County, Jackson County, Lane County, Marion and Polk County.


Q: When and where is ERA held?

A: ERA groups meet once a week in the afternoon for 2 hours on a set day for 21 weeks. The time and location are selected by youth enrolled in ERA and your facilitator. ERA groups may be hosted at your local Y.M.O drop. Special excursions may be hosted at other venues.


Q: What should I do if I need transportation to ERA meetings?

A: Let your ERA facilitator know that you need transportation and they hook you up with options.


Q: Is food provided?

A: Yes, we love food and always provide snacks and drinks to keep you energized.


Q: Is it too late to enroll in ERA?

A: ERA applications for Summer 2016, close on August 15, 2016, with the course commencing in mid September, 2016.  Can’t make this date? We encourage anyone who wants to be a part of ERA to submit an application: no matter what time. Dependent on our assessment of your application (i.e. your readiness, potential to commit, etc.) we can explore options to place you in a current or a future ERA group.


Q: Will peer support be offered?

A: All Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon programs feature peer support as part of the experience; all ERA facilitators are trained peer support specialists.


Q: I’m interested in joining ERA, who should I contact?

A: If you are interested in becoming a part of ERA click here and submit your application. 

The Character Academy

The Character Academy is a six-month program exclusive to the Medford Drop that teaches youth/young adults about computer literacy and coding technology. This program aims to create significant change in the lives of young adults who feel disconnected from the formal education system by offering them a young adult focused entry point into the workforce.

The Academy combines hands-on instruction in the computer lab with community service based projects in an effort to amplify youth/young adult voices and abilities in community conversations.

Over the course of the program, Character Academy participants will gain marketable career building skills, experience, and countless career opportunities. Participants are selected through a readiness assessment that looks at motivation and ability to benefit from the program, among other factors. 


Q: How much does it cost to be a part of the Character Academy?

A: This program is free to all youth/young adults who express passion in the field, a high level of interest, and meet the requirements.


Q: I am already an elite app coder, how can The Character Academy help me?

A: The Character Academy is an introduction to the field of coding. Even if you are at an advanced coding stage, you may enjoy some of the other aspects of the Academy.  However, if you already have a job doing coding or if you have a successful app on the Android market, then you might be above the Academy’s experience level.


Q: What will I learn?

A: You will learn how to code an Android project and run a debuggable version of the app. You will also learn some fundamentals of Android app design, including how to build a simple user interface and handle user input. While learning about different coding languages, we will help you create a plan to master the language that best reflects your interest in app design. We will then help you think about your future in the field and help you make connections with potential employers.


Q: What if I want to learn how to code for OS X?

A: Anyone who wants to make a career in coding will at least need to be familiar with all major mobile operating systems. While the program doesn’t specifically focus on OS X, some of our lessons are applicable to the system.


Q: How hard will this class be?

A: This class will be low pressure and will follow the learning pace you’re comfortable with.


Q: Will peer support be offered?

A: All YMO programs feature peer support as part of the experience. This class isn’t just intended to make you an expert in the language of coding, it will help you set a course in a long term career of coding.


Q: I’m interested in joining the Character Academy, who should I contact?

A: You can apply by sending an email with your contact information to the regional director of The Medford Drop, Lauren Conn. Not all young people who apply will be guaranteed a seat in the program as space in the Academy is limited.