He has gone from sitting in jail cells to sitting on the couch at “The Ellen Show.”
Jersey City native Frank “Educational” Gilmore, 37, will appear on Ellen DeGeneres show Tuesday (Ch. 4, 3 p.m.), discussing how he transformed from a young drug dealer into a youth mentor.
“When I am doing this work, I don’t look for recognition or anything, so when they called and told me who they were, I thought it was a joke.”
Gilmore, known to the local kids as “Coach Woo,” works for Jersey City, in the Recreation Department. He spends his off time mentoring at-risk young people who are growing up on the same streets he worked as a teen drug dealer.
After his final release from prison, he earned an associate’s degree in business administration from Hudson County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in communication and entrepreneurship from Rutgers University.
Three years ago, Gilmore opened a community center on Monticello Avenue, where kids can do homework, get tutoring or just play video games. The Educational Gilmore Community Learning Center is located near the corner where he was arrested in the early 2000s, an arrest that landed him a 10-year prison sentence.
He said nobody does this for the money, because there is none. They invest their time because they care about the community.
“Personally, I feel like I am indebted to the community,” Gilmore said. “I have done so much wrong. It’s my job to, you know, right my wrongs and try to clear my conscience with the things I’ve done.”