IDEAL, which stands for Inform, Discuss, Enlighten, Acknowledge, and Learn, is a national, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization. Our goal, ambitious yet simple, is to change the way students think about politics and interact with each other. There are three pillars of the IDEAL model: IDEAL MEDIA, or CherryTree, a forthcoming publication and podcast; IDEAL CAMPUS, which sponsors student chapters in colleges and high schools across the country; IDEAL COMMUNITY, which works with community partners nationwide to develop and implement in-school, after-school, and adult civic education and community engagement initiatives.
IDEAL Media, CherryTree, is the next evolution of IDEAL. Through a publication and podcasts, Cherry Tree produces content in hopes of revolutionizing the political media model.
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Students are the foundation of IDEAL. Born out of a high school club in 2012, this now national non-profit depends on its students across the country to make real effective change. Our chapter presidents and officers have spent time working on the hill, and our alumni have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships, received national recognition for work they've done, and are attending some of the most prestigious universities and graduate schools in the world. A diverse network of incredible talent, IDEAL CAMPUS is built on, for, and by students who want to make a difference in the world.
The IDEAL Chapters in each institution help students think critically about important political issues of the day. The chapters employ our unique, philosophy-grounded model, promoting civic discourse with a focus on objectivity, sensitivity, and civility. Each chapter publishes articles, and takes an active role in its respective communities, taking on Community projects that embody the IDEAL mission of changing the way students think about politics and interact with each other.
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Our mission is to change the nature of civic discourse in this country, and each facet of this organization has an important role in doing just that. If CherryTree is the platform for new ideas, and CAMPUS is the environment built for students and scholars to think critically and discuss amongst each other, then it is COMMUNITY that ties this work together. COMMUNITY, the third pillar of IDEAL, is about listening to communities and citizens nationwide, and asking “what can we do to help?” The idea behind community is simple: do what we do best in the ways that we are need. At the intersection of civic education, community engagement, philosophy, politics, art, music, and culture, IDEAL COMMUNITY takes a multifaceted approach to civic engagement by developing in-school, after-school, and adult programming focused on learning from and working with those around us—every community is different, and we trust them to lead the way. Our work means nothing unless we play an active role in the democracy itself. Through COMMUNITY, we can do just that.