About the Founder
Sgt. Craig Littles, a native of Memphis, TN and dedicated single father of 3 wonderful children (Yarkeva, Morgan and Branson Littles) has been an amazing leader and example of tenacity, endurance and bravery amongst his peers and youth in the city of Memphis. Sgt. Littles is a proud Alumni and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee of Trezevant High School and honored graduate of Shelby State Community College (Southwest Tennessee Community College) and Christian Brothers University.
As a “Career Professional,” Sgt. Littles, a veteran, has served his country fearlessly in the United States Army (Europe); Operation Desert Storm (Southwest Asia) and Army National Guard (Tennessee). Totaling 27 years, Sgt. Littles began his career in law enforcement in the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Jail Division. In 1994, he became an officer with the Memphis Police Department, afterwards deservingly promoted to Sergeant assigned to Sex Crimes.
As a “Community Advocate,” Sgt. Littles is the Founder and Executive Director of Memphis Bears Incorporated (MBI), a non-profit youth organization established in 1996 to empower, enhance and enrich youth through educational assistance, discovery skills and sports programs to at-risk youth ages 5 to 18; Chief Visionary Officer and Executive Director of Sheriff’s & Police Activities League of Memphis & Shelby County (Memphis Shelby PAL), a non-profit youth mentoring organization devoted to preventing crime, building character and promoting success for children ages 5 to14; and Chief Executive Officer of Youth Academy of Dreams, a non-profit youth organization that promotes educational assistance, mentoring, leadership skills, community volunteerism opportunities, teen workforce development and youth athletics to school-aged children ages 5 to 12.
The passion and purpose of such successes evolved from childhood therapeutic measures such as sports. With 25 young boys and 5 young girls with the same ambition, growing up around drug infested crime stricken and low poverty neighborhoods such as Getwell Gardens, Hurt Village, Ridgecrest and Walter Simmons Projects, Sgt. Littles founded MBI. As young visionaries, they all were inspired to become mentors to the attention starved youth from mostly single parent households. This enthusiasm coupled with diligent efforts proved to be a springboard to success for many of the youth in the city of Memphis.
Growing every day, MBI now serves approximately 200 to 250 boys and girls participating in basketball, baseball/softball, cheerleading, football and track/field utilizing the dedicated assistance of over 80 professional adult volunteers. With an ever-evolving curriculum, MBI also provides life skills, training mentorship and tutoring programs. MBI works diligently to offer programs that ensure their youth obtain the general concept of sportsmanship, teamwork and love for their community. The program fosters a gateway to diversity, cultural awareness and positive experiences.
Formed in 2017, Sgt. Littles discovered a remedy to the statistical juvenile success decline amongst our youth. From the national partnership with National Police Activities League (NPAL), Sgt. Littles formulated Memphis Shelby PAL (MSPAL) to foster the highest standards of excellence through active programming of community service, positive youth development and organized sports under the constructive influence of dedicated officers who serve as coaches, referees and mentors. Even in its’ infancy, Memphis Shelby PAL has enrolled over 600 youth in the program and has registered over 200 volunteers around the city of Memphis. www.memphisshelbypal.org
The most recent of Sgt. Littles endeavors is the “Youth Academy of Dreams,” a compilation of discovery, sports, education and mentoring curriculums servicing approximately 200 youth in the Raleigh/Frayser area. The mission is to provide school-age youth the opportunity to develop their intellectual, athletic and social skills in a challenging and safe environment by bridges the cultural divide of economic and cultural backgrounds.
In recognition of his due diligence, Sgt. Littles has been the recipient of the following prestigious awards:
- Meritorious Community Service Award by former Mayor W. W. Herenton
- Outstanding Community Service by former Congressman Harold Ford Jr.
- River City Gala, Community Man of The Year
- Community Service Award, Memphis Police Department
- The National Jefferson Award for Public Service presented by The American Institute for Public Service
- Afro-American Police Officer of the Year
- Shelby Youth Sports Coach of the Year (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008)
- Liberty Mutual, Responsible Coach of the Year
- United Way, Volunteer Mid-South Nomination
- Men of Excellence Award by Tri-State-Defender Newspaper
- Volunteer Mid-South Board Member of The Year 2nd Place
- Volunteer Mid-South Board of The Year 3rd Place
- Friends of Education Educator of the Month February
- City of Memphis “Ovation Award” Recipient December
To continue his legacy and give his innovative perspectives towards the community, St. Littles serves on the following community boards:
- Frayser Community Development Center
- The Commercial Appeal Jefferson Award Selection Committee
- (Former) Executive Committee Member of The National Democratic Party
- Frayser Neighborhood Council