Entering Gloria Bryant & Emma Griffin’s apartment is like stepping into a magazine. It’s warm, welcoming and full of creative inspiration.
Bryant, 61, and Griffin, 76, always enjoyed sewing, baking and other crafty endeavors, but their creativity blossomed once they met Jeremy Lambertson.
Lambertson, who works for The AMT Group, has been working with Griffin and Bryant since 2009 and is with them every day. It’s that constant companionship that’s led to discovering fun activities. Together they explore Cincinnati, make Pinterest-worthy crafts and bake treats for others. They even took a vacation to Florida together, which fulfilled one of Bryant’s yearly goals.
“I’ve gotten to know Emma and Gloria well and know what they like to do. And it’s stuff I also enjoy,” he said.
In the past few months, they’ve gone downtown for the streetcar opening and taken cooking classes, in addition to their regular visits to the Turner Farms market and various events at Washington Park and Fountain Square. Sandra Perry, an SSA who has worked with them for 10 years, said she’s seen a remarkable difference in both women. “For a while, it was hard for Emma to get motivated to be in the community,” Perry said. “Now she’s more engaged and willing to go out.”
Bryant admits she is typically a homebody, but will go anywhere in the community Lambertson suggests. “He’s a very good man,” she said. “We love him.”
Griffin and Bryant, who met many years ago, used to attend Jackson and Kidd adult centers. “We worked together and became friends,” Griffin said. Now, instead of working, they choose to explore the community with Lambertson.
He’s helped them lead such a full life, Lambertson now trains new staff on how to connect the people they work with to the community. “It’s about being caring and attentive for the people you’re working with,” he said.
When they’re not visiting local museums or parks, or heading to restaurants, shops and movies, the trio is often creating new décor for their apartment that would make Martha Stewart jealous. For Christmas, they’ve made elegant garlands, wreaths made out of pinecones and gathered branches and decorated the tree with nearly 1,200 ornaments. At Easter, they paint blown eggs then embellish them with glitter. Halloween is all about the spider webs, skeletons and other ghoulish adornments. And there are always fun cut-out cookies and treats. Each year and each holiday is a chance to get more creative with both the baking and crafts.
“He’s the best, and we love working with him,” Griffin said. Now, a friendship that has already spanned decades includes one more lifelong friend.
This story was originally published in the December 2016 issue of Reflections, the HCDDS newsletter. Sign up here to get Reflections delivered to your inbox.