When Sandy hit, the Rodriguez family stayed with friends in Island Park. Their home, which is just one floor, was flooded by six feet of water. Most of their possessions were lost. But everyone was safe, and that gave the children perspective even as their lives were disrupted.
A few days after the storm, they went back home to see the damage. A.J. said he could handle it, even if his parents didn’t think so. “They didn’t want me to go in because it was all messy,” he said. “They didn’t want me to see the disaster.”
The family attends the Full Gospel Church in Island Park. Friends there who live in Valley Stream offered their home to them. “Other people did offer, but they were the first ones,” A.J. said. “It was really nice. They cared about how we were.”
Others gave them care packages of food and clothing. They have been shopping to replace some of the day-to-day items they need.
The family they are staying with also has a girl and a boy, and the daughter, 9, also attends Brooklyn Avenue School.
There is a lot of room at the new house, they say, so it isn’t too crowded, even with two families. The Rodriguezes are staying downstairs together. There are plenty of video games and toys to play with.
They don’t know how long they will be there, but A.J. and Hope say they would like to stay at Brooklyn Avenue School through the end of the school year. They say their parents are looking to make Valley Stream their permanent home. “We like it here a lot,” A.J. said.