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“I love knowing I work for a company that gives back so much to the community. I don’t think you can find that very often.”

The company is Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Schererville, and the grateful employee is Christine Martinez, marketing coordinator/social media specialist. “At Albert’s we’re very heavily involved with charities; we like to give back to the community,” Martinez adds.

As the holidays approach, many companies reach out to help the needy. Albert’s reaches out all through the year, in a wide range of giving and in recognizing those who give of themselves, Martinez says.

Students and Public Servants

Albert’s is a family-owned business dating to 1905. Its ties to the community are strong, with customer relationships that go back through generations. Owner Joshua Halpern explains he is an expert diamond buyer committed to selecting only the finest diamonds and also to being sensitive to customers’ budgets. That family-owned culture extends to the community. Among many charitable donations, “We’ve recognized students and public servants for their achievements throughout the year,” Martinez says.

Every year Albert’s gets ready for a Most Improved Student Day, contacting local schools, requesting they nominate a boy and girl from every grade. Two are chosen to come to Albert’s, made festive with decorations for the day. “This is one of our favorite days,” Martinez says. “We have cake for them and give them a certificate. It’s exciting to hear the kids’ stories; some have had struggles and have come a long way. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come in a year.”

Albert’s has great appreciation for those who help safeguard the community’s citizens. Each year the Albert’s Hometown Hero award goes to a local police officer and firefighter nominated by their department chiefs. “They come in, we present them with a certificate, and we give them a very nice timepiece,” Martinez says. “We’ve been doing that for a long time.”

Research and Assistance

One of the biggest efforts the Halperns are involved with is the annual drive to raise money for research into multiple sclerosis. So far this year, $235,000 has been raised for MS, bringing the overall total through 13 years to nearly $1 million. This year Walk MS was at Wicker Park, with Albert's employees and their families among the volunteers. “I have two family members with MS, so that really touches my heart,” Martinez says, but she notes the MS campaign is just a small part of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers' many charitable works.

Albert’s makes an annual donation to the Down Syndrome Association of NWI; this year it was $6,745.82, representing 100 percent of Albert’s watch battery services from Jan. 12 through Feb 18. The Down Syndrome Association of NWI and Club Shining Star help more than 500 people with disabilities in NWI and the Chicagoland area. Tutoring, speech, sensory groups and social events are just a few of the services.

Albert’s participates in other charitable events throughout the year including, but not limited to, the Northwest Indiana Chapters of the American Cancer Society, Parkinson’s Foundation, Humane Society, Kidney Foundation, American Heart Association, Tradewinds, and Global Enrichment Foundation/Convoy for Hope, as well as foundations that foster art education for youth.

“People (from charitable organizations) come in here all the time and we always give back,” Halpern says. “We’re committed to our customers and to our community.”

Love is in the Air

One of the days Albert’s Diamond Jewelers offers to the community seems particularly appropriate: Albert’s, known for its quality engagement and wedding rings, is delighted to host weddings on Valentine’s Day. Engaged couples who bring in their marriage license can have their wedding performed at Albert’s, with cake, a champagne toast, music, photographer, and flowers all provided for free. “It’s really nice and people enjoy it so much, including the employees,” Martinez says.

Martinez says the good feeling from helping others has a positive effect on Albert’s employees. “The store’s generosity is not only great for the community, it’s also great for us (employees),” Martinez says. “We’re like a family here. Albert’s allows the Girl Scouts to come in, for example, and it’s just a good feeling to know we help so many people. I don’t think I could work for a company that didn’t give back. It’s near and dear to me.”