Quite often in the non profit world representatives of different agencies serving youth and families are brought together to discuss some of the biggest problems their clients face. Groups are known to meet for hours debating the best way to address issues such as hunger, homelessness, the drop-out crisis and crime prevention. I too have been apart of countless conversations on these topics. I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of sitting across from highly respected congress men and women, mayors, board presidents, corporate CEO’s and the like. And while the attendee lists are impressive and my networks are growing; I’m disheartened by the stagnant nature of these meetings. I can’t help but feel like our meetings are in vain and we’ve begun to “meet about what we are going to meet about in the next meeting”. In other words, the nobility of our efforts to meet and discuss important issues is lost when we fail to take action and implement real change. While the beginning of all action is the communication of ideas; meeting about the deplorable statistics on violence and crime in our communities does not keep our children safe. Talking about the need for more food banks does not put food on tables. And yes, there are several organizations that are implementing and carrying out services; helping thousands of people each year. However, I can’t help but to wonder if more people could be served if we, especially those with financial and political power, would take a more action oriented approach and initiate dialog with a clear plan to take action. What would happen if those invited to discuss these important topics were also asked to come with tangible and realistic plans for how they can implement change? What if the true discussions weren’t about the statistics and the severity of the problem; but about the feasibility of executing plans being presented? I think by now we know what the problems are. I don’t think we need to be convinced that there is a drop-out crisis and thousands of children aren’t receiving the best opportunities for positive development due to issues such as poverty and crime. It is time we focus more energy on realistic inputs to addressing the issues as opposed to defining the issues.