It took weeks for all six children in the Charles family to get back to school after Hurricane Sandy and now, six months after the storm, they're still trying to catch up. NY1's Lindsey Christ has the story
The school buildings have reopened, the buses are running, the elevator moves 12-stories up to the apartment, where the lights are on and the kitchen is filled with food and water.
None of that was true six months ago.
"We were hungry and the place was dark," fourth grader Ashley Charles said.
The six children in the Charles family were out of school for several weeks.
Now things are easier, but they're still feeling the storm's effects. Preston Charles, 4, has trouble being away from his mother, Navala.
"He would cry, he would hold me when it was time for him to go into the school building," Navala said. "He wouldn't want to let go."
They've already been warned that all four middle children may be held back a year.
"If Sandy didn't come they would be in school every day and I doubt they would have to be in this dilemma now," Navala said.
Just weeks after the oldest child, Britany, returned to her high school for students with special needs, the school bus strike began. She missed another month of school.
"It was frustrating," she said. "It was really frustrating."
The kids have spent more time in school since the storm, going in early and on Saturdays, but mostly for test prep.
"We missed a bunch of review staying home when the power was out," Brianna Charles said.
The six children attend four different public schools, all of which have been helpful their mother said.
Donations flowed through the schools, like a $1,000 pre-paid debit card given to each family at P.S. 43, thanks to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.
Navala spent a small part of it to buy paint, wallpaper and curtains.
"Change up the whole scenery," she said.
The schools offered counseling, but Navala declined, saying she wants the kids to start to move on.
"It did change them," Navala said. "To me it made them a little bit stronger."
Like Joshua, who in the weeks after the storm would go out with his mother to find food and water. He carried it up 12-stories to his brothers and sisters.
"I was proud of myself," Joshua said. "I felt like I was a man."
Joshua is only 10 years old.