Olympic medalist inspires students at River Place Elementary’s nutrition-focused Family Night Out

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Photos by Paula Schumann

River Place Elementary hosted its first Family Night Out to Build a Healthy Heart recently and dozens of families came out to enjoy.

“We had over 250 people brave the cold and ice to come eat, shop a farmers market, be active and listen to Lindsey Carmichael speak,” said Sara Milam, RPE volunteer and organizer of the Jan. 23 event.   DSC_5481

Carmichael gave a demonstration and spoke about  “just try it,” you never know what might happen. That’s how she became an archery Olympian and scholar.

Carmichael, who is from Lago Vista, was diagnosed at the age of four with McCune-Albright syndrome. She experienced a number of bone fractures and surgeries. This required her to use body casts, crutches and a wheelchair at various times. She overcame numerous obstacles as her femurs and tibias eventually required the support of steel and titanium rods.


In the 2004 Paralympic games in Athens, Carmichael placed sixth overall in archery and set a world record. In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, she took bronze. In 2011, she was listed on the University of Texas Dean’s Distinguished Graduate list.DSC_5496

DSC_5505The Family Night Out event was part of the Healthy Titans Program was piloted last year and expanded to all of RPE this year. The program’s goal is to educate and encourage the students on how to eat healthy.

“Just try it” is the same theme that was followed throughout the month of January at RPE with nutrition lessons in every classroom.

“We asked each child to have an open mind and build skills that can help them the rest of their lives,” Milam said.DSC_5485

The nutrition curriculum was taught in 37 classes a week and all taught by volunteers trained on the nutrition curriculum.

“Lesson topics include areas such as food groups, how to read a nutrition label, understanding serving sizes and hydration,” said Bonnie Martin, co-founder Smart Sprout LLC, the company that runs the program at RPE. Martin and Milam founded Smart Sprout to supply nutrition and gardening curriculum to schools.

The nutrition curriculum is supported by a number of other programs throughout the entire school year. The Healthy Eaters program celebrates students who make healthy choices in the cafeteria.  The Celebrity Vegetable program helps expand students’ knowledge of fruits and vegetables with fun facts, tastings, and interactive activities, Martin said.

“From tracking how much water they are drinking in 3rd grade to kindergarten trying new vegetables like beets and sweet potato, we have been thrilled with the students engagement,” Martin said.


At the Family Night Out there were activities for the entire family and a farmers market and several food vendors with healthy samples and items to purchase and take home for future healthy eating.

Kori Weston, a Glenlake parent, enjoyed the night with her children.

“I think it is a great idea. The kids learned about new, healthy food and learned activities to stay healthy with the family,” Weston said.DSC_5487