Impact Stories

A Legacy of Joy

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By: Amber Estelle

A classroom is primarily a place of learning. It’s where students go to understand new subjects and concepts. It’s an environment of exploration and creativity. Some classrooms manage to stretch beyond the educational needs of students and provide a safe space. In these classrooms, there is freedom to be yourself and find your voice.

One incredible couple dedicated their time, energy, and careers to provide this space for their students. During their time together at New Castle Community Schools, Jim and Joy Robbins not only supplied this safe space in their classrooms, but they also carried it on through coaching clubs like the speech team. Jim remembers with a hint of humor, “Joy co-coached with me. She figured if she were going to see me, then she’d have to get up at 5:00 a.m. on Saturdays to ride the yellow submarine to speech meets.”

Their time with the Speech and Debate teams was exceptionally successful. They won the state debate championship twice and went on to nationals with 37 students.

Beyond teaching and coaching, the Robbins devoted time outside of school hours to help students learn skills to succeed after graduation. Joy was known for staying after school to help students with the application process for scholarships, and Jim coached students as they were interviewing for scholarships and jobs.

One of Jim’s former students, Amanda Sautter, found solace in his classroom. She expressed, “He, quite literally, gave me and many others experiencing abuse and neglect a voice. I learned so many invaluable public speaking tips and tricks from him. I went on to use them in every job or professional speaking engagement since then.” She even won a stand-up comedic competition, and she gives credit to her high school speech influences, like Mr. Robbins, for helping her in her accomplishments.

In addition to these significant aspects of their life together, Jim and Joy started their own business assisting people with interview skills and public speaking. It began as a way to help their niece reach the title of Miss Indiana and flourished into an effective business. Five of the women they served made it to the crown for Miss America.

After retirement, they wanted to continue giving back to the community that gave so much to them over the years. Jim shared, “We wanted to help students succeed. We wanted to provide opportunities for more kids from all walks of life. That’s when Beverly Matthews encouraged us to set up a scholarship fund.”

The James A. and Joy A. Robbins Scholarship Fund was established in 2007 to benefit a New Castle High School senior and provide for things like tuition, room, board, or related educational expenses.

Then in January of 2010, at the age of 62, Joy Robbins passed away. Jim strives to carry on her legacy through this award. He likes to see the scholarship go to students who are compassionate, like Joy.

Jim is grateful for a way to give back and support people in the community through the Foundation. That’s why he has chosen to include the Foundation in his estate planning. He hopes that their gift of a lifetime can continue to affect people  and inspire others to give back to the community.

Most of all, Jim says that he wants to ensure that he leaves a “legacy of Joy.”

Like the Robbins have planned in their estate, a charitable bequest in your will is one tool you can use to leave a lasting legacy in our community.

How does it work?          

  • You can establish any type of fund through various planned gift options or add to any existing fund with any amount.
  • Receive a FREE Estate Planning Guide on our website at to successfully plan your estate and avoid an accidental disinheritance.
  • Once you make a commitment through your estate plan, let us know so we can welcome you as a member of the Legacy Giving Society.

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