Joseph C. Draper

Joe Draper has been a N-O-T: Not On Tobacco facilitator for groups of boys at the Falls Church High School since 2003, organizing two N-O-T groups per year. He has helped many of his students turn their lives around by guiding their quit smoking activities.

Here's just one of the success stories from Joe's tenure as a N-O-T facilitator:

"Ike" was quite a difficult kid coming into the N-O-T program. He had been recently kicked off the football team for smoking on school grounds and other academic violations. When he started the group, he was quite pessimistic about quitting. However, after 5 weeks, he had significantly reduced his smoking and his grades had rebounded nicely. By week 10, he had quit smoking and improved his grades enough to get on the 2nd quarter honor roll. He made quite a turnaround. Ike says the structure of the program really got him motivated, likening it to "preparing for a football game." That is, you have to be "mentally tough." Next year, Ike will be allowed back on the football team.

This year, Joe involved a former N-O-T graduate in his groups. The student talked about the death of his grandmother from lung cancer and her wish that he not follow in her footsteps. It really had an impact on the students. Also, Joe recognized that some students might be sensitive about their involvement in the N-O-T program, so he found a room where the boys could meet that was a "secret location" in the school, allowing them to have confidentiality about their involvement in the group.

In addition to organizing N-O-T groups at his school, Joe has also been instrumental in developing the N-O-T program. He has ensured that his principal supports the N-O-T Program and made her support known when the American Lung Association of Virginia submitted grant applications to the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Fund. Joe has shared his stories, experience, and information to help other N-O-T facilitators achieve their goals. He has contributed to promotional materials for N-O-T and has served as a reliable consultant on how to improve the overall program.