Belleville Area Humane Society Names New Executive Director

Kim Hudgins Vrooman has been an advocate for the community for decades and that service continues


Belleville, Illinois, January 29, 2021–
The Belleville Area Humane Society (BAHS), while enjoying over 60 years of service, has named Kim Hudgins Vrooman as their new Executive Director. Vrooman shares, ” I am coming in after and with the support of transformative leaders- two past executive directors Katie Nelson and Shoshana Mostoller,  and an amazing staff already providing outstanding support in our community. I also have the incredible support of board members who believe passionately in animal welfare.

She goes on to say,  “I am excited to discover many more friendships in order to uplift the mission of BAHS and to empower our team!  I look forward to serving our community.”

Vrooman established roots in Southwestern Illinois over two decades ago when her father, a Colonel in the US Army, moved the family from the Chicago area to the Metro East. Vrooman now lives in Freeburg, Illinois with a spectacular family that includes a loving partner, two cool kiddos, and rescue pup Charity. Vrooman’s parents taught her that having a heart of service is the primary purpose of human existence.  Supporting education and community causes, she is also a proponent for social equity and inclusion and believes in radical hospitality.

She possesses 28 years of servant leadership experience. Moving to the area as part of a military family, she went on to earn an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois, a Bachelor’s Degree in English Composition from Pierre Laclede Honors College at University of Missouri St. Louis, a Master’s Degree in Theory of Communication and Composition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and most recently a Postgraduate Certificate from Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Developing and Leading Effective Teams.  

She taught at SWIC, McKendree University, and SIUE while founding Tapestry of Community Offerings 501(c)(3) and the TOCO Shop and Textile Pantry, where she now serves as a volunteer. TOCO continues to serve 10,000 families annually through its location at 825 West Main in Belleville and beyond.  

During this period Vrooman learned about the transformative efforts of the Belleville Area Humane Society (BAHS), and with the help of enthusiastic volunteers, Kim initiated a relationship between TOCO and BAHS. Over the years TOCO has helped provide BAHS with needed supplies while working to also keep textiles out of area landfills.

In her next role as Director of AmeriCorps in Belleville, Illinois at SWIC, Kim also helped strengthen the community partnership between BAHS and AmeriCorps. Many AmeriCorps volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours in service to the BAHS mission over the past twenty years.

While serving as a Director at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, Vrooman partnered with BAHS’s first Executive Director Katie Nelson in order to empower the collaboration between these two national organizations that both emphasize the importance of regional and local impact. 

Vrooman has a deep respect for creating a compassionate place for animals within our communities. She understands the importance of humane education. She believes one need only look to how a community treats its animals to learn to what degree the community serves the greater good.

About Belleville Area Humane Society (BAHS):
The Belleville Area Humane Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been serving St. Clair County, Illinois for over 61 years. Homeless animals in our community are valued, cared for, and treated with compassion. Funded 100% through donor support, BAHS strives to improve the lives of homeless animals in our community through foster, adoption, humane education, and community outreach. Services provided include: affordable spay/neuter options, low cost vaccine and microchip clinics, emergency veterinary assistance, free dog training, and a monthly pet food pantry. To learn more, please visit www.bahspets.org.

Foster Program:
BAHS’ Foster Program has also grown significantly in 2020, and is up 74%. Fosters are a vital component of the overall health of the shelter and help teach important social skills to new animals. They ensure the health of  those in the younger pet population, who are especially susceptible to disease, by housing them outside of the shelter environment. In addition, older animals rest easier in foster care than they do in a noisy shelter environment. Fostering provides an important milestone for animals on the way to their forever homes.

There is a great need for fosters, especially with the upcoming rescue transport. If you are interested in becoming a foster, email foster@bahspets.org. Both short-term and long-term fostering opportunities are available. 

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