LAST year, Whitefield student Maya Rubinstain was walking through Manchester city centre with her parents when she saw a homeless man on the street.

Her first reaction was to buy him a sandwich and she spent a few minutes talking to him.

“His face lit up and he was just unbelievably thankful that someone had made the effort. I felt like I had done the right thing,” said the 17-year-old King David A-level student.

Now Maya, of Raglan Avenue, wants to start her own group helping homeless people.

She said: “After that experience, I decided that every time I went into Manchester, I would do the same thing. It’s so rewarding speaking to homeless people about their experiences and I think it’s a really worthy thing to do.”

When Maya asked a charity if she could help out, she was told that she was too young.

“I believe that a person is never too young to make a difference, so I came up with the idea for an organisation called Youth Exist,” said Maya.

She added: “There are over a million homeless people in the UK. They are homeless for many different reasons, but no matter what the reasons are I believe they should all be given a chance.

“Some may say I’m naive for trying to make a change, but if no one does, then the world is going to stay the same and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.

“I plan to start Youth Exist as a discussion group involving other teenagers and then progress into fund- raising, charity drives and giving food to the homeless. I want to try and get homeless people back on their feet so they know there not alone any more.”

Maya wants teenagers to complete a survey about their attitudes to homelessness. To get a copy of the survey, email youthexist@ or follow @youthexist on Twitter.

Maya is studying biology, chemistry, geography and English and plans to work on a volunteer project in Sri Lanka this summer.