Mathylde Frontus, a Ph.D. candidate at the Columbia School of Social Work, has been honored with a Characters Unite Award from the USA Network, for the wide array of social services provided by her nonprofit, Urban Neighborhood Services (UNS), to residents of Coney Island—including employment and housing search assistance, youth leadership and college prep initiatives, financial literacy, veterans support, health outreach and anti-violence activism.
As a resident of Coney Island, Frontus realized early on that many of the ongoing issues in her community such as underdevelopment, health disparities, incarceration and poverty, were interrelated. Though she left home to study at Harvard, NYU and Columbia. she never relinquished her dream of opening a neighborhood agency. She returned to Coney Island and founded UNS in 2004.
"It is an honor for me to be selected as one of the 2014 recipients of the USA Network Characters Unite Award," Frontus told us. "As someone who has been committed to community betterment and empowerment since I was an adolescent, I truly appreciate having the work that I’ve done in my own community of Coney Island for about 10 years recognized in this manner."
She went on: “The social work education that I received from New York University and Columbia University really provided me with the tools needed to design and administer programs and services for thousands of families with various social needs.”
Frontus is one of ten 2014 awardees who were selected from hundreds of nominees for their extraordinary efforts to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination, and making significant contributions to promoting greater tolerance, respect and acceptance in their communities.
Honorees will be acknowledged during hometown award ceremonies and will receive $5,000 grants from USA Network and its distributor partners to support their projects or related nonprofit organizations. Additionally, they will be featured on-air in a PSA.
Inspired by USA Network’s “Characters Welcome” brand and with the support of leading national nonprofits, the Characters Unite campaign is dedicated to supporting activities and messaging that combat prejudice and intolerance while promoting understanding and acceptance—on-air, online, and in communities across the country.