Chris Farley Foundation
MISSION OF THE FOUNDATION
The Chris Farley Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse. It focuses on communicating the consequences of drugs and alcohol abuse to kids, teens, and young adults.
Using Chris' humor as inspiration, we create communications that enable our audiences to develop personal skills to respond positively to pressures that impact choices regarding substance abuse
THINK. LAUGH. LIVE.
The Foundation seeks to establish the "Chris Farley" brand by raising initial awareness, and by creating measurable programs that reach a mass audience and deliver effective prevention messages.
The brand will initially seek to leverage the memory, work, and reputation of Chris Farley as it develops its own message of Think. Laugh. Live.
...be clear about consequences, know you have a choice, and think enough of yourself to have confidence in your own worth
...use humor as a source of strength and independence.
...connect with the goodness of life, appreciate the world around you, and make decisions that respect your world and your life.
CHRIS FARLEY BOOK
The Chris Farley Foundation has signed a contract to produce an autobiographical book on Chris. The book is expected to be completed in late 2006 and published in 2007. The book is being written by former National Lampoon writer Tanner Colby, author of the recently published (Rugged Land) biography on John Belushi (see right).
The Farley book will feature interviews and memories of people who knew him best; from childhood and school to Second City, SNL, and Hollywood
WHAT WE DO
Extensive research during the past two decades has identified a number of prevention strategies that reduce drug use, even among those at high risk. These strategies share a common goal: they strengthen "protective factors" -- social skills, family bond, school, and community involvement while reducing "risk factors" such as lack of parental guidance, school failure, and substance abuse in their environment. Research has also pointed out the importance of "resilience" among young people in who are able to resist drugs.
- Disseminate developmentally appropriate information through the use of comedy.
- Teach children that using drugs is not the norm.
- Provide a clear, consistent social message that teen alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use is harmful and unacceptable
- Create appropriate approaches to dealing with the different cultural, gender and age needs. of the target audience
- Create a model for "outside of school" comedy-related programs and mentoring efforts.
- Promote participation in comedy-based programs.
- Help kids and young adults identify internal and external pressures, including peer pressure.
- Help kids develop personal, social, and refusal skills to resist these pressures.
- Strengthen "positive factors" such as personal and social skills.
- Address the social risk factors that lead kids and young adults to substance abuse.
- Address the factors necessary to enhance resilience and promote individual strengths.
MEMORIES OF MY BROTHER
Memories of my brother by Tom Farley
The Farley family loved to laugh. We were a large, Irish family growing up in the Midwest who wanted to see humor in everything. Laughter to us was a tonic. It made the good times better and the bad times somewhat less so. Most of all, we really loved to just make each other laugh. And that, I think, was what made Chris so enjoyable to watch.
For Chris it wasn't enough to just "be" funny; he really wanted and needed to make you laugh and feel good. The sincerity with which he was able to do that was obvious, whether you saw him on stage, on screen, or up close in person. Chris' humor was right from the heart. He never scripted his jokes or worked on creating a better "act." He simply thought of something funny and went with it.
But what I remember best about Chris was how he loved to laugh. Some comedians need all the attention; they crave it. Not Chris. He would double up at the slightest of jokes, which I saw him do countless times; with friends and comedians alike. And when the joke was on him, Chris was hysterical. He loved it!
Throughout our years growing up, I could never understand how Chris was able to get himself in trouble with a teacher, a coach, or our parents, and still come away with them smiling and rolling their eyes. Now I just marvel at that skill. I sure hope my kids find that ability some day - what an gift!
Imagine Chris (the accused) standing before a teacher who is scolding him on some infraction. As she recites to him exactly what he had done to disrupt her class, the teacher (listening to her own words) begins to realize just how funny the stunt really had been. Better yet, the entire situation would be fully supported by an almost angelic look Chris could display, backed up by a genuine Catholic need for seeking forgiveness. He literally wanted everyone to see the humor in what he had done; even the person he knew would eventually have to discipline him for it.
Chris was always willing to make others happy. He was our little wind-up toy. When we wanted to be amused, we asked Chris to do something outrageous, and he delivered. This willingness to do anything had consequences. I imagine that deep down Chris had a very strong need to be accepted. Fairly typical of your average teenager. But a lifetime of being overweight made that acceptance all the more difficult in Chris' mind and probably caused a good deal of self-doubt in him. So, he did some things that his conscience and good reason told him would ultimately not be the best for him. Chris chose the immediate pleasure he got in pleasing others over the long-term cost to himself. When people around him started to drink and take drugs, Chris joined in. The ability to say no was just not there.
The role of the older brother is often one of setting the right example and being the model for others to follow. But I look back at some things my younger brother did and can only wish I could someday live up to his standard. Little is known or told of how, while a cast member of Saturday Night Live, Chris would attend Mass almost daily and often helped out in a local senior center connected to his church. He also loved to visit children's wards in hospitals. He was very serious about his faith and service to the community. The smile on the faces of those he helped was worth gold to Chris.
But for me the single most memorable moment in Chris' life was when he asked me to attend his third anniversary of sobriety at an AA meeting that he would be leading. The address he gave me was surprising at first. It was on the far west side of New York, in an area known as Hell's Kitchen. The building was dark and completely run down. Manhattan hosts many AA meetings each day, many in the ritzier parts of the city - Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue, Upper East Side. But Chris chose this meeting. It was where he met each week for three years. Upstairs, I found Chris at the head of the room conducting a meeting that was filled with what looked like refugees from the nearest homeless shelter. But here was Chris talking about the disease he shared with everyone in the room; a disease that made him no better or worse than each person present. That was so much like him. And I will never forget how they all looked at Chris with admiration and respect. Not because he was a famous actor but because, like them, he was battling a very powerful enemy. A battle that they all would fight each day for the rest of their lives. But that day, they had won their battles. And when Chris was finished, we all celebrated and had cake. Chris loved that day. So did I.
MY FAVORITE PHOTO
While in college, Chris spent his summers as a counselor at a boys camp in northern Wisconsin.
Red Arrow Camp was where all the Farley boys went as kids. And we all worked there as counselors. Our father had also attended Red Arrow.
Always a great athlete, Chris thrived on the sports and competition at camp. He also enjoyed being around "the guys." It was at camp that Chris first developed his love for acting, while hamming it up for the annual camp plays.
Most of all though, Chris loved whipping the boys into a frenzy, and leading them off on some wild adventure. This photo is one of my very favorites of Chris -- hiking through the woods with the campers following close behind. It's also an image that I prefer to remember of Chris -- full of life and walking down the "right" path. Chris lived thirty three years. And for most of those years, that's exactly how he lived them.