Every year, more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members volunteer with City Year, a service organization that offers a lifeline to public school students in high-poverty communities.

The extraordinary young adults who are recruited to serve work for 11 months with students who need a bit of extra, individualized support. Their efforts as leaders and "near-peer" role models help keep the students on the path to graduation — and a bright future.

City Year volunteers get back as they give. They walk away with skills — such as leadership, communication, relationship building and problem solving — that help them succeed in their career, regardless of their chosen field.

"I recommend City Year because no matter which career path that you take, they’re looking for people who can really work well under pressure, within teams, can get through something from start to finish," said City Year alum Harry Cho, MD, director of quality and patient safety at Ichan School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

The City Year experience also helps shape career paths.

"My passion for people, I really realized that when I was at City Year," said David Rhoden, director of Human Resource Analytics at Aramark. During his time at City Year, "I got to do project management, I got to do training, but [also] a lot of leadership development, and I realized I love doing it. Especially if you’re young in your career, it’s one of the best programs, I think, out there."

"You grow so much," said Rhoden. "It’s like, in giving, you receive a gift. That gift set me up for my career."

Molly Mitzner, a community affairs specialist at CSX, found her career path through City Year. "Before City Year I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t know jobs like mine existed," she said.

City Year draws from AmeriCorps members, who come from different places and diverse backgrounds and bring all kinds of skill sets and career interests to the table. For information on how to apply, go to the City Year website. The deadline for 2016 applications is April 30.

Learn more about how CSX and City Year are partnering in local communities around the country at beyondourrails.com.