Before Neil and Jane Yaeger opened their Lightbridge Academy center in Virginia Beach in May of 2018, and the couple knew that they wanted to give back to the local military community. Both Neil and Jane, whose father served in the Navy, have long been committed to supporting the community, which is home to many military facilities. So the couple’s commitment to help support these families with their center needs came naturally.
Lightbridge Academy offers several solutions to military families. The first is a discount for all their early education program which span infants through pre-K aged children. They also have a back-up care program for families in transition and needing temporary coverage.
“We are love being part of the Virginia Beach community, it is such a diverse population,” Jane said. “It’s a community we are very proud to be a part of.”
This isn’t the first time Jane has worked with military families. The former teacher often made care packages for active service men and women whose children were in her classes. She was even sent flags by military parents serving abroad as a sign of appreciation.
“Neil and I were so honored by those flags,” Jane said. “We have them hanging up in our center now.”
The Yaegers have also sought out qualified military-family educators and administrators for their staff. They currently employ six teachers and assistants who are married or engaged to active military personnel. Hannah Failor, a Young Infant Lead Teacher for the Yaegers’ Lightbridge Academy, has been employed with the center since before the grand opening. Failor moved to Virginia Beach with her husband, Joshua, when he was stationed there with the Navy.
“I was apprehensive about leaving my old job at first, but once I met the Yaegers and the team they were building, I knew it was the right place for me,” Failor said.
Failor’s husband was recently deployed overseas. “Everyone in the office checks in on me,” she said. “They even offered the multipurpose room for me and my husband to have Skype dates. I started crying when offered that, I was so touched.”
Like the Yaegers, Failor is also adamant about supporting other military families in the area. Lightbridge Academy of Virginia Beach, she says, is the perfect venue for her to do that.
“I love working with military students and their parents because I know exactly what they are going through,” she said. “A mother of one of my students reached out to me recently and offered to get together because her husband had recently deployed. Those are the kind of relationships that make this job special.”
Mark Mele, Lightbridge Academy’s senior vice president of franchise development, says the Yaegers’ commitment to supporting military families is exactly the type of community outreach that inspire all of the company’s franchisees.
“The Yeager’s are wonderful examples of the Lightbridge Academy core values,” he said. “They deeply care about all those in our Circle of Care which include the communities we serve. But even beyond that, we want our centers to play vital roles in their communities. Jane and Neil see their Lightbridge Academy center as a way to transform lives and supporting others along their life’s journey. Their passion is evident in how they seek opportunities to add value to the community.”
The Yaegers’ Lightbridge Academy has only been open under a year, but their center is growing at a strong rate. Jane says she and her husband are continuing to look for new ways to support military families.
“We want to host events to honor military families,” she said. “We want to do everything we can to give back. Operating a Lightbridge Academy center is an amazing opportunity to give back and we are determined to make the absolute most of it.”