Every Tuesday as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making a difference in our community.
This week, we caught up with Craig Littles- a retired police sergeant giving back to the community where he was born and raised.
“Everything we do is an extension of what I wanted as a kid in this community,” Littles said.
After growing up in North Memphis, he went on to serve in the Army before serving our community with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Memphis Police Department.
He’s now retired, but still serving in other ways. Now, he is the founder and executive director of Memphis Bears Inc. and well as Memphis Shelby County Police activities league.
Both nonprofit organizations are designed to ensure youth reach their full potential.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to stay busy during the most critical times. Its part of our mission. After school and summer months,” Littles said.
Their after-school program during the year runs until 8 p.m. and their summer camps are all day during June and July.
“We service the kids during the most critical time…five to eight. If we could do five until midnight, we would,” Littles said.
When we caught up with Camp Outrageous, it was raining so they brought all activities inside the newly renovated section of Trezevant High School, Littles’ alma mater.
From cheer, flag football, track, basketball and golf, the kids stay busy. Anna Moss is a retired lieutenant turned golf instructor.
“I’m excited about the program, I’m excited about helping the kids play golf. I’ve been playing for over fifteen years,” Moss said.
For Littles, in addition to having fun and keeping the kids moving, it’s making sure they see and experience law enforcement officers, differently.
“They see us out of uniform with a whistle or a clipboard. [The kids] Start to respect the laws we enforce on a regular basis,” Littles said.
Octavia Winfrey-Crawford is a retired MPD investigator who knows the importance of keeping kids engaged.
“There is so much youth violence and killing in the city, so we give them something to do to keep them busy in the summer,” Winfrey-Crawford said.
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Memphis Bears Inc and PAL a thousand dollars. Because when you create a community where kids, cops and community grow as one, you build a stronger bond.
A true Community Changer.