By Fabiola Jean
In mid November, Mathylde Frontus, founder and executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services (UNS) won the 2014 Characters Unite Award, which was presented to her at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Brooklyn. The USA Network presented the award to Frontus with a $5000 check to go towards her work at her Brooklyn-based nonprofit.
The network gives the award “to 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.” Frontus also received recognition from local supporters including, Con Edison, Emblem Health, Assemblywoman-elect Rodneyse Bichotte, and officers from the 60th Precinct.
”It has been a real honor for me to be selected by the USA Network as one of the 2014 recipients of the Characters Unite Award,” Frontus said. “When I started Urban Neighborhood Services several years ago, receiving any kind of accolades was the furthest thing from my mind. I simply wanted to do my part and help create positive change in a community, which had been historically neglected.”
UNS offers services and access to programs to “traditionally underserved” residents in Coney Island and surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods. Their services include financial workshops, veteran outreach programs and youth leadership seminars.
“I dreamt of creating a go-to agency where the people of Coney Island could come to any day of the week to get help for themselves and their families,” she said. “When I stood on the podium the evening of my hometown award ceremony and looked out into the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of deep satisfaction about the extent that my vision had come to fruition and the fact that UNS has indeed been able to reach so many people in the community over the years.
“It was a great feeling to consider that all of us can turn our ideas and dreams into reality with some hard work and determination.”