JACKELYN KASTANIS learned how to seize opportunity at age 14 when she auditioned her way into the magnet Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City. She took the scary leap, leaving behind her Catholic school pleated skirt and family in Detroit to fulfill her young dream. “My love for adventure met with my passion for the arts,” says the now Founder/CEO of Simply From The Heart Foundation (SFTH). “This set me on the path for a longtime journey in TV and film, and a move to Los Angeles, where being a member of the Screen Actors Guild from early childhood paved the way for roles and bigger opportunities.” Then, when her childhood best friend was given a year to live at age 27, Kastanis shifted gears, went to be with her friend, and decided to let her heart guide how to live the next phase of her life. “The loss of my best friend, Brooke Bolley, led me to begin something that would impact thousands of hospitalized patients nationwide and honor her forever.” She created SFTH, a nonprofit that provides patients with complimentary bedside beauty services to raise self-esteem and encourage well-being. Using what she describes as a “transformational and facilitative leadership approach,” Kastanis pushes boundaries, does her research, builds strong community connections, and cultivates relationships—with the apt motto Pamper with Purpose. “And I do it all with a smile!” she adds. It’s not surprising that she credits the collective women of Hinsdale as her role models: “There’s just a camaraderie here unlike anywhere else, and the people truly care.” As does she.
Simply From The Heart is located at 13 E. 1st Street, Unit H, in Hinsdale. For more information, visit sftheart.org.