Abused Wife, Mother of Four, Escapes Abuse and Builds Own House Using YouTube Videos

“Once I had bought all these supplies and they were all piled up, there was no way out,” Brookins explains. “There wasn’t enough money to pay anyone to put them together. There was no plan B.” – Cara Brookins

An amazing and heartwarming story out of Arkansas. Mother of four, Cara Brookins, was the victim of abuse at the hands of her husband. Initially, she thought she could manage it but, as the abuse grew increasingly violent, she knew her children (aged 17, 15, 11, and 2) deserved a better home life.

Finding her moment and her courage, Cara left her husband and moved her children into a small house. While driving around town and reflecting on the difficulty of raising her four children in that woefully undersized home, Cara passed a tornado ravaged home in desperate need of a professional rebuild: “It was this beautiful dream house and it was sort of wide open. You don’t often get the opportunity to see the interior workings of a house, but looking at these 2x4s and these nails, it just looked so simple. I thought, ‘I could put this wall back up if I really tried. Maybe I should just start from scratch.’”

With only enough money to purchase the necessary building materials and an acre of land, Cara quickly realized what she had just signed herself and her family up for, “Once I had bought all these supplies and they were all piled up, there was no way out. There wasn’t enough money to pay anyone to put them together. There was no plan B.”

The challenge: build a two-story, five bedroom home requiring everything from poured concrete, to wood framing, masonry, and drywall. With the help of her three older children (the youngest of the four only being two years old at the time) construction began. “It was not something that was a great match to us physically, but my kids got up every day and they came out here. I was working all day and they were in school, and we would work into the night sometimes by headlights. It was incredibly intense. There was nobody going to the movies. There were no dates, no hanging out. It was all hands on deck.”


As the house began to take shape, so too did the family. Cara explained that the act of building their home gave this young family a strength and validation that the abuse had nearly taken.

With the house built, and the family secure, Cara now turns her attention toward women across the country in a similar situation to what she once found herself in. To them she offers this advice: “Forget everything you’ve been told about taking baby steps. Everybody says, ‘If you just take a small step every day, it will get better.’ In my experience, though, it doesn’t. You have to make a big leap. It has to be this huge, enormous act. For us, it was building a house. For somebody else, it could be something totally different. But you need to do something big that changes your perception of yourself.”

Cara has written a book about this experience entitled “Rise, How a House Built A Family” which will go on sale January 24th.

Content and full article available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mother-of-four-cara-brookins-builds-her-family-a-house-by-watching-youtube-tutorials/


RBJ Features US Ceiling Corp.

US Ceiling Featured under Fueling Growth

In a recent article entitled Getting Rolling, the Rochester Business Journal interviewed Melissa Geska (President of US Ceiling Corp.) to discuss the important role that lending has played in the growth of her business. In that interview, Melissa spoke of the critical role that US Ceiling’s banking partner (M & T Bank) has played, “We could not have grown had we not had access to larger amounts of capital…”.

This partnership with M & T Bank has had a direct impact on growth potential, “Whereas most banks without SBA funding put a cap on the dollar value you have access to for capital, by having these project-specific supplemental loans, it allows us to hire more,” Melissa Geska explained.

All told, the article within the Rochester Business Journal highlights the necessary (and critical) role a small-business owner’s relationship with their banking partner ultimately plays in the overall success of that small business.

Midtown Towers – Bergmann Associates

Varied and Highly Visible: The Offices of Bergmann Associates

“When we were awarded this job, the pressure was on to deliver. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to showcase how skilled our workforce is. I’m so proud of their achievements here.” – Melissa Geska, President

With a scope that included metal framing, insulation, drywall, linear metal ceilings, and acoustical ceilings, US Ceiling had a varied and high difficulty job to complete. With a client like Bergmann Associates, the job also carried with it the additional pressure of high visibility.

Young Women’s College Prep School Holds 6th Annual Leadership Breakfast

US Ceiling Proudly Supports the YWCP

So blessed today to have part of the US Ceiling Team join me at the celebration of the amazing Young Women’s College Prep school in Rochester, N.Y. These young women are college bound and will set the world on FIRE!!!!” – Melissa Geska, US Ceiling Corp President

Begun in August of 2012, the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester (YWCP) immediately set out to offer eighty one 7th grade girls an opportunity to excel in a new environment. Studies have shown that:

  • “Female graduates of single-sex high schools demonstrate higher academic achievement than their co-ed peers, including higher SAT scores and increased confidence in math and computer skills.
  • Three times as many alumnae of all-girls’ schools plan to become engineers.
  • Graduates also show higher levels of political engagement and greater self-confidence in public speaking.” (source: http://www.youngwomenscollegeprep.org/about-ywcp/about-facts)

Being a Minority, Woman-Owned Business, US Ceiling has a keen interest in supporting the education and advancement of our future leaders. That support manifests itself in sponsoring events such as the Leadership Breakfast held on this day.


To the amazment of all in attendance, the young ladies representing the YWCP demonstrated a grasp of their goals, ambitions, determination, and ability to fill a packed room with laughter and love. The event was meant to highlight the great work being done by the YWCP and to serve as a spotlight on the specific achievements of its students. It was also an opportunity to thank those that have been fundamental to these early achievements. The leadership group of the YWCP also announced the ambition to continue to grow the school and set a target enrollment of 500 students! Lastly, it was an opportunity to watch an incredibly moving video that we hope you will watch in full:

In the years to come, US Ceiling Corp will continue to support powerful institutions like the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester!

US Ceiling Corp Holiday Party Becomes Opportunity to Give Back

US Ceiling Corp Employees Bring Toys for the Children of House of Mercy

“The holidays are a wonderful time to think of all the families within our community.” Andrew James, Business Process Manager

At a log cabin just outside of town, the employees and associates of US Ceiling Corp. gathered to eat, laugh, and share one another’s company. The reason: The US Ceiling Corp Holiday Party.


As is always the case, when large numbers of great people gather, great things happen. Melissa Geska (US Ceiling Corp President) let it be known that US Ceiling Corp would be making a sizable monetary donation to the House of Mercy. Additionally, she let it be known that any employee wanting to help could bring an unwrapped toy which would be given to the children within the House of Mercy over the holiday season. The response was terrific.

As you can see from the picture above and to the left, the US Ceiling Corp employees and associates overwhelmed expectations and donated more than seventy toys. The toys were collected and then taken to the House of Mercy’s office the next morning.


It’s a beautiful thing to be able to help within your community. The entirety of US Ceiling Corp was happy and humbled to play a part in delivering joy to the most vulnerable among us. A toy is a small but vital part of a healthy childhood.

The House of Mercy is quite familiar to US Ceiling Corp. At present, US Ceiling Corp’s employees and associates are hard at work building the new facility that will offer a massive increase to the amount of community members that can be served. Here is a video of a guided site walkthrough:

As the facility nears completion, US Ceiling Corp is proud to have contributed to the construction of what is sure to keep happy, healthy, and safe so many members of our community. Before clicking away, please take a moment to watch the touching video below. It gives an introduction to the critical work being done by the folks at The House of Mercy.

For additional information about the House of Mercy, please visit their site: http://houseofmercyrochester.org/



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