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Nicole La Ha Zwiercan Serves Homer Glen Community

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

written by Owens Media, Inc.

for Orland/Homer Neighbors Magazine

photos by Scott Duff

The many hats that Nicole "Nikki" La Ha Zwiercan wears includes two crowns. She is a wife, mother, special needs advocate, charitable organizer, published author, life coach, elected official and a two-time pageant winner.

The newly elected Village of Homer Glen trustee was named 2016 Mrs. Illinois International. "I decided to compete for the first time in 2016 and won. That led to so many opportunities to get involved with my community, both locally and nationally," La Ha Zwiercan said.

La Ha Zwiercan first moved to the Homer Glen area as a child in 1982. She is one of the three children of Cindy and Bruce La Ha who still live in Homer Glen.

The licensed dental hygienist is a graduate of Providence Catholic High School. She and her husband, Chris, have two children, Cristiano, 6 and Ashlynn, 3. Chris is a dentist and recently purchased his own practice in the area. The two met in dental school and La Ha Zwiercan owns the pageant coaching company, The Polished Queen.

La Ha Zwiercan's involvement with a number of charitable organizations began when she was a Chicago Bulls Luvabull and involved with the Chicago Rush Arena Football Team. "My work with charities eventually carried into my being Mrs. Illinois International 2016 and Mrs. USA Universe 2018," La Ha Zwiercan explained. "I served as a spokesperson for charitable organizations all over the U.S. so it's been a big part of my life as long as I can remember."

In March, 2018, Zwiercan's then six-month-old daughter was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. "Our eyes were opened up to a new way of life," La Ha Zwiercan said. "From our experiences, we have seen that this world is not quite ready for Ashlynn or other people that live with different needs – as far as accessibility and inclusivity go."

In 2018, La Ha Zwiercan competed for the title of Mrs. USA Universe and won, later representing the United States at the Mrs. Universe Pageant where she was named first runner up. It was at the Mrs. Universe Competition that La Ha Zwiercan received the humanitarian award because of her volunteer work. "It was much more personal this time around because I spent that year discussing my daughter's cerebral palsy diagnosis and promoting the importance of community inclusivity."

In 2020, La Ha Zwiercan learned of the Go To Shop Cart designed to help toddlers whose bodies need to be supported in a shopping cart. "Until you see a struggling parent wrestling with a shopping cart while their child is falling out of their arms - or you are that parent - do you fully understand how life changing something so simple as an inclusive shopping cart can be," she said. Because of her lobbying efforts, the carts are now available at the Homer Glen Jewel and Meijer stories. "This cart offers great head, neck and trunk support and has been a life saver," she said, adding, "I receive messages all the time thanking me for the carts or asking how to get them in other local stores."

In her newest role as a village trustee for Homer Glen, La Ha Zwiercan was named chair of the newly created Ability Awareness Committee and was named co-chair for the village's Recreation and Parks Committee.

"I feel very blessed to be a trustee for the next two years. I have many goals but first and foremost is to represent the residents of Homer Glen the absolute best I can," she said. "I know there is a lot of political divisiveness all around us in the world and for this particular role, it's not about left or right, it's about unity and working for the common good."

"For the Ability Awareness Committee, our main goal is to represent all residents that may have different needs or disabilities," she explained, adding, "Sometimes, people feel that 'special needs advocacy' targets only children and we know that this is not the case. I'd like to see a work program started for people of different abilities with some of the local businesses. Social events and organized group events as well as more resources for families are also on my list. We welcome all residents of all abilities to reach out and let us know how we can best serve them."

"As a family with young kids and a special needs family, I feel that I am able to put a lot of heart into these positions," La Ha Zwiercan said. "I'm happy to be chairing with Trustee Reynders to further beautify Heritage Park visually and create beautifully functional spaces. I'd like to see a toddler area added as well as a splash pad," she said.

La Ha Zwiercan includes her family in many of her activities. "I loved to include my family in all that I did," she explained, adding, "I'd take my son to serving opportunities through church. It wasn't always easy to have them tag along, especially Ashlynn with all of her equipment, but I wanted them to be introduced to unique people and different experiences."

She added, "I wanted to invite people into our journey and allow them to see that having a child with a disability isn't a sad thing, it's just a different route."

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