Kim Carter Heroes screenshot CNN

A woman who says she spent 12 years being “recycled” in and out of the prison system has turned it all around to help others in the same position.

Kim Carter spent years moving from prison to the streets and back again. She wanted something better, but faced an uphill challenge simply finding a place or home, where she could start over.

Eventually, Carter was able to find the services she needed while still in prison, but made up her mind to work toward preventing other women from having to go through what she did and helping them break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness.

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That decision led to the inception of a number of programs for former female inmates to help them adjust to life outside of prison, recover from addiction, get counseling, and find shelter.

She founded her nonprofit, Time for Change, in 2002, and has since provided housing, job training, and counseling to 800 women.

The organization even runs a shelter for homeless women and supports them as they move into permanent housing.

“Homeless women and children — I call them invisible people. We pretend that we don”t see them,” Carter told CNN. “But I see them. And I know there’s something we can do to help them.”

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She frequently returns to California women’s prisons to run her “Positive Feature” program, and works to reunite moms with children whose custody was lost because of being homeless or in prison.

Her work has made Carter one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of the Year.

You can vote for her as your choice for Hero of the Year at The network will announce the winner at their annual televised award show December 6, and present the 2015 winner with $100,000 for continuing his or her good work.

(WATCH the CNN video below) — Photo: CNN video

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