Saturday surprise: Wiscasset's Aleeya Jones pays it forward to 5-year-old
In Westport Island Saturday, Wiscasset's Everett Oakes, 5, screamed, hugged mother Kellie Oakes, danced, ran across his grandmother Bertha Gardner's porch and gave Aleeya Jones, 15, of Wiscasset a high five, his mother said hours later. Oakes said Jones had just surprised her and her son with the money to register him for karate camp.
Oakes explained in texts and a phone interview, the family could pay it, but Jones gave them the gift of not having to. "I was blown away." The act showed the teen's generosity and altruistic spirit, and that Aleeya recognized in Everett a love of sport like Aleeya's for volleyball at a young age, Oakes added.
"She's an amazing young woman."
Jones' mother Julie Jones concurred. Interviewed separately, she expressed pride for her daughter's act, saying it showed Aleeya's heart and the mature, compassionate person she is already becoming.
Aleeya Jones said family, friends and the community have always helped her pursue the dream she continues to move closer to, competing for the U.S. in the Olympics. In July, she took part in volleyball camps at University of North Carolina and Duke University. She will be home-schooled her upcoming junior year to better fit her training schedule, her mother said.
Aleeya said she had been wanting to do something for a fellow young athlete, to pay forward the support and encouragement she has had. She raised money through volleyball games at her family's sand court at home on Suki Lane. Everett has gone to Julie Jones' daycare there since he was 2. Aleeya was in another room when Oakes recently talked with Julie about the Hallowell karate camp her son had just learned of. The incoming Wiscasset Elementary School kindergartner took up the sport with Tao Karate Club at Wiscasset Community Center this summer and is loving it, his mother said.
Aleeya, who turned 16 Monday, Aug. 6, heard the conversation and then worked with her mother to set up the surprise. Her mother later texted Everett's mother to say Aleeya had something for them, and they all met in Westport Island.
As for Everett's reaction, Aleeya said, "It made me so happy, because he was so happy, and I've been wanting to give back after everything people have done for me."