Anti-gang advocates call for new youth centre at Adam’s Walk

Prince Albert residents march down 28th Street West as part of Adam’s Walk on Tuesday. The walk was organized to call for an end to gang violence, and remember 18-year-old Adam Pelletier, who died in 2020. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert residents gathered to call for an end to gang violence, and remember the death of a friend during the second annual Adam’s Walk on Tuesday.

Attendees gathered to remember Adam Pelletier, who was shot and killed while at a party in October 2020, and to call for more support in preventing Prince Albert youth from joining gangs.

“I haven’t cried yet, but I’m going to soon,” said Pelletier’s mother, April Roberts, prior to Tuesday’s walk. “A lot of people loved him so much, and I’m so happy that a lot of people are here for him. It makes me feel really good.”

Attendees met along the Rotary Trail near the Alfred Jenkins Field House at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. They then walked down 28th Street West and towards South Hill Cemetery where Pelletier is buried.

Roberts described her son as a wonderful and lovable kid, who fell in with the wrong crowd at a young age. Tuesday would have been Pelletier’s birthday, and attendees celebrated with cake at the end of the walk.

“Towards the end, he was becoming better,” Roberts said. “He wanted a better life for himself, and unfortunately, this happened, but he was way better. He wanted to be someone.”

Tuesday’s walk was about more than remembrance, however. Roberts and those in attendance want to see more support programs that will prevent youth from joining gangs as teenagers. Specifically, they want to see a new youth centre created so teenagers can have fun in a safe environment where they won’t be drawn into gang culture.

Adam Pelletier’s mother, April Roberts, wants to see a new youth centre created to help prevent young adults from joining gangs. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

“There’s a lot of violence in our city, in our community, and we’re losing a lot of youth,” Roberts said. “I think it’s time for somebody to open their eyes and open a centre for these kids to go and hang out (and) talk to someone if they need to. Maybe it would avoid them getting involved with the wrong crowds.

“What I’m hoping is that somebody, anyone, can put their heart out and open a centre for these kids so that they’re not getting bored. My son, he had nothing to do, right, and then he started getting involved with gangs.”

Pelletier’s step-father, Chris Gallerneault, was among those who attended Tuesday’s walk. He said gang violence is getting worse in the community, but many people don’t see it because they live sheltered lives.

He would welcome the creation of a new youth centre, or any program that prevents youth from joining a gang.

“Prince Albert needs an awakening with gang violence,” Gallerneault said. “It’s running rampant.”

The first Adam’s Walk was held in 2021, one year after Pelletier’s death. This is the second, and Roberts was encouraged by the larger turnout. She’s hoping it will lead to change in the community.

“I’m hoping this will open people’s eyes,” she said. “I don’t want to see anymore youth die. The violence is just too much in this city. Somebody has to do something.”