The mission of Mountain Youth Charities is to provide leadership and inspiring programs to enrich the lives of the children and families in our community. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to explore their gifts and talents and become the very best they can be.
Mountain Youth Charities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by Marcia Shawler and the late William McKee. The inaugural fundraising event for Mountain Youth Charities was held in July 2013 when The United Community Bank sponsored “Mountain Challenge: Roddick vs. Courier” at Cedar Creek Racquet Club. Thanks to the tremendous support from the community, our sponsors, and tennis stars Andy Roddick and Jim Courier, we raised enough money to found the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau in September 2014.
Mountain Youth Charities has facilitated communication between organizations and programs that serve youth in our community, as well as providing funding and functional support. The Cashiers Youth Council (CYC) was started by Mountain Youth Charities to bring together the existing organizations serving our youth. The CYC has fostered communication and partnerships among these organizations and helped create economies of scale so more children can be reached. This group was the focus group for initiating the Boys and Girls Club in Cashiers.
Please visit our Grants page to learn more about the organizations supported by Mountain Youth Charities or to obtain a grant application.
Board of Directors
Marcia Shawler, Co-Founder and President
Marcia is a North Carolina native who graduated from Jacksonville University with a BA in Sociology. She spent many years working in College Admissions in Florida and later for several college textbook publishing companies in sales. Marcia spent eighteen years as an expat living in Europe and Asia and has been coming to Cashiers since 2000 as a summer resident, finally settling down as a full time resident in 2013. Her children attended Summit Charter School for one year. She loves this community and the mix between local residents and second homeowners. Her passion is providing children on the plateau with as many opportunities as possible.
Marcia helped organize The Mountain Challenge and co-founded Mountain Youth Charities as a 501(c)(3). She assisted in raising funds to start the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau and was the founding Board President. She has also tutored and mentored at Blue Ridge School. Marcia loves to spend time enjoying the beautiful sports available in Cashiers and hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Lisa Youngblood, Board Member, Vice-President
Lisa moved to Cashiers in May of 2016 after almost twenty-five years in Atlanta. As a writer and tutor, she wanted a quieter, simpler life, which, thankfully, has not quite worked out as planned. In addition to her work with Mountain Youth Charities, Lisa tutors several students at The Blue Ridge School, The Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau, and The Summit Charter School. She is a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor specializing in working with children who have language-based learning challenges, including dyslexia. When her children were younger, she served as the Parent Body President and Auction Chair at The Children’s School. She also spent almost a decade practicing law, most recently with King & Spalding in Atlanta, and served as an Adjunct Law Professor at Emory Law School. She has had a number of short stories published in literary magazines and is currently looking for a publisher for her novel The Magic Mule. Her greatest passion, however, is working with children.
Danie Beck, Board Member, Secretary/Treasurer
In 2011 Danie Beck proudly celebrated her 40th year as a Dance Studio Owner and Teacher. At that time, she had been teaching dance for 54 years and been active in the field of dance and dance education around the country for many years. In addition to operating Dance Unlimited, she traveled about the country serving on Faculty for several dance organizations and numerous judging panels for Regional and National Dance Competitions; was the 1st Commissioner for the FDC – Federation of Dance Competitions; Past President of Florida Dance Masters; Past Co-Chair of UNITY, a coalition of National Dance Organizations; served on the Joint Management Committee for National Dance Week; Regional Director for Dance Educators of America; and member of State Dance Association of Florida, among many other accomplishments. She is now offering Ballroom dancing lessons in Cashiers.
Danie’s volunteer activities are equally extensive and valuable in the Cashiers community, where she serves on the Board of the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry and Mountain Youth Charities. She also volunteers as a dance instructor at The Boys and Girls Club and volunteers many hours to the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce. She had a fantastic 40-year marriage to her wonderful and supporting husband Irv, who passed away in 2007. Together they raised 2 children and treasure their 5 grandchildren.
Vicky Robson, Board Member
In 1995, Vicky and her husband, Rick, pulled up deep Tampa roots to move to Cashiers with their two young sons, Mike and Charley. Before moving to the mountains, Vicky worked for the Hillsborough County Property Appraisers office for 10 years where she met Rick the Appraiser. Over the years, she has served on the Academic Affairs Committee at Summit Charter School and the Trustees Committee at Cashiers United Methodist Church, owned a commercial embroidery business and recently played a role in bringing Communities In Schools to Blue Ridge School as a Student Support Specialist. In addition to serving on the board of Mountain Youth Charities, she is also on the Education Committee at the Cashiers Historical Society, tutors for the Augustine Literacy Program, and is looking forward to her 9th season as a docent at the Zachary-Tolbert House. She enjoys good food especially in the company of family and friends and loves to travel.
Renee Clark, Board Member
A native Georgian and 25-year veteran in the commercial real estate industry, Renee fell in love with Cashiers when friends brought her here to visit three years ago. Since then, she and her husband have purchased a house and opened book-ish, a new and used bookstore.
Renee is passionate about children/young adults and providing them the best possible start in life through love, affection, education, arts, playing and empowering them with the skills to succeed in being productive, independent citizens. While being an avid supporter and volunteer of multiple charity organizations, including St. Jude’s, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and Hillside Home for Children, this is her first foray into organized membership. She was inspired to join Mountain Youth Charities due to its broad commitment to the needs of all local youth, wherever those needs arise.
In her spare time, Renee enjoys immersing herself in Bible study, Eschatology, reading, gardening, hiking, playing tennis and spending time with her family. Quirky tidbit: Renee is fascinated by the history of cemeteries, including headstone art, and the evolving social aspect they have played in culture.
Virginia Willard, Advisor to the Board of Directors
Virginia moved to Cashiers from Portland, OR in 2013. In Oregon she had extensive experience serving on and consulting to non-profit boards of directors. During her 35-year banking career and her “second career” as a nonprofit executive, Virginia planned and executed many fundraising campaigns events and campaigns of all sizes. She has led many workshops on nonprofit board effectiveness and created a highly successful training program that prepared hundreds of individuals for nonprofit board service.