Thierry Dusautoir: A captain working towards professional inclusion

Bursts of laughter and encouragement, balls flying, children running in all directions. Welcome to “Sport dans la Ville”, the main association for integration through sport at its headquarters in Lyon. The Societe Generale The Future is You Foundation has long supported the “Job dans la ville” program. It was an excellent opportunity for Thierry Dusautoir to take his first steps as administrator, visiting the association with Sidonie Mérieux, who is also an administrator of the Foundation.

Thierry Dusautoir talking with children

"I am more used to being on the pitch than in board meetings,” smiles Thierry Dusautoir. The former captain of XV de France is on familiar ground during his first outing as administrator of the Societe Generale The Future is You Foundation. The Sport dans la Ville association is indeed quite appealing to the former rugby player. “Sport dans la Ville is absolutely in line with my values. I really think that sport is an exceptional tool for inclusion, a social tool, and also good for health,” emphasizes T. Dusautoir.

Created in 1998 in Lyon, Sport dans la Ville establishes and manages sports centres in priority neighbourhoods under the City Policy (QVP). All the programmes developed by the association promote the social and professional integration of 7,000 young people from underprivileged areas. The Societe Generale Foundation supports the “Job dans la ville” programme in particular. It provides 1,630 young people with an integration manager as well as a mentor throughout the year, who help with professional orientation and gaining access to training or employment. The Sport dans la Ville and Job dans la Ville programmes are very interconnected. Young people from priority neighbourhoods join the association starting at age 6 to play sports. As they grow up, they can benefit from the Job dans la Ville programme starting at age 14.

This is the case for Youssef, a student in IUT information and communications technology, who followed in the footsteps of his brother, who also participated in Job dans la Ville.

Make an impact

“My integration manager was there to help me whenever I had any doubts,” Youssef remembers. He will also represent his neighbourhood in the final round of a speech contest between all of the Rhône priority neighbourhoods.

"Finally, I've come full circle,” stresses Thierry Dusautoir. The association begins supporting members in their youth. Then at the time of academic orientation, it accompanies them until their university studies. And if they then wish to carry out entrepreneurial projects, the association also provides support. It provides young people with the tools they need to achieve their goals and perhaps get out of a situation that may not have been the best. The priority target population is youth from the priority neighbourhoods, but does remain open to others. And I think it’s cool in fact, that it ultimately allows this mix of social status. Today, we can clearly see that the goals of “Sport dans la ville” are very much in line with the mission of the Foundation.  This just confirms my commitment as an administrator”.

Sidonie Mérieux, a Lyon resident and long-time administrator of the foundation, agrees: "I loved what I’ve done in recent years in terms of integration because it was very anchored in the area. With the Foundation, we have teams who are right in the neighbourhoods and who also know how to mobilize administrators to come with them when necessary, to visit locations, provide support, pitch and meet social entrepreneurs... Our role as administrators goes way beyond simply saying yes or no to a grant. We must be able to concretely measure the impact of our decisions, and reach out to the beneficiaries of these structures and that is what is most interesting in this kind of role”.