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(Hamilton, OH) - The Celebrating Self series at the Fitton Center offers people a glimpse behind the curtain of something they see frequently in their day-to-day lives. Perhaps even something they take for granted.

Nearly 200 guests packed the Carruthers Signature Ballroom March 6 to learn what's behind the success of Hamilton's internationally recognized citizen-led neighborhood initiative, 17Strong.

Brandon Saurber - Director of Neighborhoods for the City of Hamilton - said there is no secret, just a willingness and a commitment to doing the work.

"This sacred pact that we have as a free and democratic society is not a transactional relationship," he said. "It's not, 'I pay my taxes, therefore I expect X.' This is not a spectator sport. It's participatory. It requires active participation by all residents of a community to lift it up.

"The power of this movement we call 17Strong is really in the accumulation of these small acts of goodness. It's in the accumulation of these connections within neighborhoods, between neighborhoods, and from those neighborhoods, back to City Hall." Saurber led a robust round-table discussion featuring Hamilton Freshman School Principal Ty Smallwood, Fitton Center Development Manager Arnita Gunn and (among many other titles) Celebrating Self Series Sponsor Kathy Klink. As always, anyone who missed the luncheon can stream it on TvHamilton. Meantime, enjoy a few photos from Around the Kitchen Table with 17Strong in the gallery below.

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