What is UniCycle?

Uniform + Recycle = UniCycle!

UniCycle is a school uniform recycling program that orchestrates the collection and distribution of “outgrown, not worn out” clothing to provide Standard School Attire (SSA) and other dress code appropriate items to MNPS students who need it.  Volunteers collect clothing in participating schools, then distribute it through a partnership with the Homeless Education Resource Office for Families in Transition (HERO), and by implementing in-school UniCycle Closets. These closets are maintained by a volunteer UniCycle Coordinator or support staff at each school, and teachers and counselors can give clothes on an as-needed basis with no red tape.

UniCycle brings the practice of sharing outgrown clothing from a family or neighborhood model to a citywide model. The program is a seamless way to remove an obstacle to education for students, leaving school personnel and the HERO program more time and money to tackle the bigger issues surrounding homelessness and poverty among students and how those challenges affect their school day.

How does it work?

Students bring their outgrown items to school and the clothing is corralled in a designated UniCycle laundry basket. Volunteers collect the baskets when full and clothes are screened, cleaned, organized and that school’s own closet is kept full. Extras are then sent to the UniCycle homebase at Percy Priest Elementary school, where they are distributed to students via the Homeless Education Resource Office or directly back to school closets that need more than they collect. Efficient collection and redistribution at the school level makes things quicker and easier for parents and students on both ends.

How does it help?

By serving as both collection and distribution agency with drop off and pick up points primarily in schools, UniCycle condenses the to-do list on either side of the recycle model. We serve as the one-stop destination for parents seeking a donation opportunity for outgrown uniforms and the same endpoint for families searching for gently-used school clothing for their school-aged children.

The entire UniCycle program works diligently to support the efforts and mission statement of HERO, which oversees school enrollment, transportation, school clothing, supplies and other school issues for students who are experiencing homelessness. In addition, UniCycle Closets in more than 60 MNPS schools serve any student, anytime and take an item off of the to-do list of counselors, social workers and other school support staff.

UniCycle distributed more than 20,000 items of clothing during the 2019/20 school year.


Jami Oakley: 713.301.7815 and Unicycle.nashville@gmail.com

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