Our Staten Islander of the Week is helping students with autism express themselves through the performing arts.
NY1's Thalia Perez introduces us.
A round of applause for some of the borough's youngest actors.
"I was spectacular on stage. I learned my lines," said actress Brianna Roberts.
Roberts took center stage earlier this week alongside fellow students from the Eden II School.
The program is dedicated to supporting Staten Islanders with autism throughout their lives.
Kelly Gilmore is a dance instructor at the Stapleton school.
He put in dozens of hours off-the-clock to prepare the cast for the year-end performance.
Gilmore says it was a proud moment to see his students shine on the stage.
"There's something really magical about giving yourself the freedom to express yourself through music, through dance," he said.
Gilmore says the performing arts isn't just about the theatrics.
He says it also goes a long way in helping students develop important skills.
"In addition to their motor skills and their coordination, this is something that helps them interact better with those around them."
Eden II leaders say Gilmore's dedication goes far beyond the dance floor.
"He's been doing a lot on his own time, switching his schedule, making sure the kids are ready for this performance," said Joanne Gerenser, executive director of Eden II Programs. "It's nice when someone puts in that much time."
Gilmore says it's moments like these that make it all worth the effort.
"I couldn't be prouder in seeing the development of these individuals in their abilities to express themselves," he said.
And so, for helping students put their best foot forward, Kelly Gilmore is our Staten Islander of the Week.