As well-known artists and leaders in our state, these volunteer Ambassadors help raise the visibility of the organization and generate awareness about the positive outcomes for older people engaged in CAN-NC’s programs. Each Ambassador participates with CAN-NC in a way that is conducive to their talents and schedules, and is supportive of the organization’s needs. One key role for the Ambassadors is to help educate the community about the growing needs of older adults in our state and explain how the work of CAN-NC helps address these needs. Other tasks may include hosting or participating in fundraising events, or helping to identify community partners and potential donors. We greatly appreciate the support of these valuable leaders.

AlmaAdamsRepresentative Alma S. Adams has served in the North Carolina General Assembly since 1994 and was re-elected to her 10th term in November 2012. As an educator and artist, Adams has initiated and sponsored numerous bills to support North Carolina’s colleges, universities and schools and has been a strong advocate for the arts and culture. Prior to her service in the General Assembly, Adams was the first African American woman elected to the Greensboro City School Board. She served two years as the chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and is the current chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. She co-founded the African-American Atelier Art Gallery in Greensboro in 1990. One of 47 individuals selected by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as a distinguished National W.K. Kellogg Fellow, she traveled and studied in fourteen countries from 1991-1993, researching youth of African descent, specifically focusing on areas of self-esteem and culture.  She is one of six founding members of the American Legacy Foundation which honored her leadership and work in education in 2006 by creating the Alma S. Adams Scholarship for Outreach and Health Communications. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Art Education from North Carolina A&T State University and was awarded her Ph.D. in Art Education and Multicultural Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  From 1972-2012 Adams was a member of the faculty of Bennett College in Greensboro and served as professor of art; Director of the Art Gallery and manager of the college’s art collections.  She is the former Chairperson of the Department of Visual Arts and Humane Studies and Director of the Humanities Division. Adams retired from Bennett College in June, 2012, after 40 years of service in academia. Learn more about Adams at

Joseph Bathanti pic smlJoseph Bathanti is the Poet Laureate of North Carolina. He is the author of eight books of poetry: Communion Partners, Anson County, The Feast of All Saints, This Metal (nominated for the National Book Award), Land of Amnesia, Restoring Sacred Art (winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize), Sonnets of the Cross, and a new collection, Concertina, from Mercer University Press. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His latest novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. His new novel, The Life of the World to Come, is forthcoming in 2014 from University of South Carolina Press. His collection of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the 2012 Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press. He is the recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (poetry) and 2009 (fiction); the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize; the Sherwood Anderson Award; the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize; the 2011 Donald Murray Prize; the 2012 Ragan-Rubin Award; the 2013 Mary Frances Hobson Prize; the Irene Blair Honeycutt Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts, and others. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University.

Laurelyn DossettSinger/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett lives and writes in the piedmont of North Carolina, and her songs tend to reflect the stories of the region, both traditional and contemporary. One of the most sought-after voices in creative collaborations, Dossett co-founded Polecat Creek with singing partner Kari Sickenberger in 1997. She has partnered with Triad Stage’s Preston Lane on numerous plays, performed with singer and fiddler Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and her song “Leaving Eden” is the title track for their Grammy-nominated 2012 release. She also wrote “Anna Lee,” featured on Levon Helm’s Grammy-winning record Dirt Farmer. Dossett is a frequent performer at regional music festivals such as Merlefest and has been a guest on the radio show Prairie Home Companion. She has toured with folk legend Alice Gerrard, songwriter Diana Jones, and the North Carolina Symphony, and has performed with legendary Nashville mandolinist Mike Compton, and North Carolina’s own banjo virtuoso, Joe Newberry. Dossett is the 2012 recipient of the Betty Cone Medal of Arts, the 2010 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship for songwriting, 2004 winner of the Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest, and a 2010 fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Learn more about Dossett at

BTimberlakewebBob Timberlake is an internationally acclaimed realist painter and designer who lives in Lexington, North Carolina. After graduating with a B.S. degree in Industrial Relations in 1959 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he worked in five family businesses in a hands-on, executive capacity. Timberlake began painting as a young child but began his professional career in 1970. Although he received no formal art education or training, his work is best known for its intricate attention to color and detail. His depiction of the simple life in his native North Carolina has endeared his work to millions of admirers around the world for 40 years. Throughout his career, Bob Timberlake’s work has been featured in scores of magazines and newspapers including The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine, Art Voices/South, Midwest Art, Southwest Art, Today’s Art, Art World News, Southern Living, Southern Accents, Audubon, Acquire, Sporting Classics, Forests, NC Business, Our State, Reader’s Digest (only the second time an artist was featured in that publication), and almost all of the “shelter” magazines. Timberlake has released seven books and designed four stamps for the US Postal Service. Timberlake has been honored by Presidents Carter and Reagan in the White House for his work with Keep America and NC Beautiful, Inc. and by Prince Charles in Buckingham Palace. Learn more about Timberlake at

Leigh RodenbouhLeigh Rodenbough (1924-2014) As our first Ambassador, Leigh was an inspiring example of creative aging. After practicing law for 51 years, Leigh became a full-time professional artist at age 80.  Retirement was not a word that Leigh used. He simply saw the transition from one career to the next as a time for rediscovering long lost talents, developing new skills and pursuing enriching experiences.  “As I work at the easel, the process never fails to teach me something by way of delightful surprises in unexpected color harmonies or composition. These unplanned nuances are a source of excitement for me and greatly enrich my life experience.” Leigh’s message to others was clear, “Most progress goes on between the ears such that, regardless of age, people should continue to focus on the future and move in the direction of doing that which fulfills them.”

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