Luciana Gilmore is an educator, author and mentor for adolescent girls looking to change the future. She wants to repair and strengthen relationships between mothers and daughters through her Gilmore Girls program and FA(I)RE (pronounced FAIR-ee) app.
Gilmore received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Akron, as well as master’s degrees in education and organizational leadership from Cleveland State University. She took a teaching position at John Hay High School and became its principal. In 2017, Gilmore resigned from her position, realizing she was called to do more.
“I won’t say that I’m a religious person,” she says. “But, I do believe in God, and He spoke so clear to me when I least expected it.”
Before resigning, Gilmore published her first book, “Daughter, Have I Told You Lately.” She also started Gilmore Girls Greetings, a line of greeting cards intended to open communication between mothers and daughters. In 2019, Gilmore hosted her first conference, Mothers and Daughters Revived. Guests were asked to participate in an exercise where girls anonymously wrote something about their lives.
“Someone wrote, ‘For the past year, I have been bullied every day,’” she says. “Another wrote, ‘My mom doesn’t know that her boyfriend touches me.’ Another wrote, ‘My mom doesn’t know I like girls.’”
So, she decided to create Gilmore Girls and design the FA(I)RE app to create a safe space to have hard conversations.
Taiona Conner, a ninth grader, joined Gilmore Girls in 2019. She was facing struggles in academics and says the organization helped her mental health.
“I feel like she’s been through a lot of stuff that I’ve been through,” says Conner. “So, to me, it is important that someone has had to face all of the things that I’ve been through.”
Essence Hatcher, Taiona’s mom, likes that her daughter now has an outlet that allows her to relate to other girls without negative consequences.
“I love Ms. Gilmore … I love the Gilmore Girls program. She’s always telling me about something that they are doing,” says Hatcher. “They have photoshoots, and she has friends … and it’s a good group of friends to have, too.”
Terrah Kent, dean of administration for Cleveland Metropolitan School District and a member of the Gilmore Girls Advisory Board, says the girls who joined the program have become more outgoing and formed a bond outside of the sessions.
“As they talked about self-esteem, bullying and what it looks like, you could see they were excited about the curriculum,” says Kent. “Toward the end of the year, I could see them transitioning, growing up.”
Gilmore Girls has two consultants on call, servicing 52 middle school-aged girls and 10 high school girls. Gilmore Girls offers clinical therapy, counseling for mothers and daughters and individual coaching. The outbreak of COVID-19 placed a limit on Gilmore’s interaction with the girls, but she created baskets for them, called Love Drops, and delivered each one.
In the future, Gilmore envisions a home for comfort. She also wants to expand counseling and services to mothers and daughters in urban settings.
“I would love to wrap my arms around the most intensive situations,” she says. “I want to be able to help [mothers] discover their greatness.”