Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 22, 2013

Teen’s bucket list looks to help

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s not a usual thing for a teenager to have a bucket list but that’s exactly what one Pauls Valley student is already working to complete.

Just a few months ago 17-year-old Daniel Cifuentes, a junior at Pauls Valley High School, decided to come up with a list of things he wanted to accomplish someday.

Then he decided it was time to get started as his list includes giving back with sort of community donation.

Cifuentes has made this idea a reality as he came up with his own project of donating plush toys, mostly made up of huggable dolls for kids, to Pauls Valley General Hospital.

“I came up with a bucket list, and I already have 15 things done out of the 100,” Cifuentes said about the 100 items on his list.

“I want to accomplish everything on the list before I die.

It was around this past New Year’s when Cifuentes started thinking about his life and really just life in general.

That’s when the idea of creating a bucket list came about.

“I decided I’m here for a reason and why not just live up to it,” he said.

So, Cifuentes got a pen and paper and came up with 15 items right away before completing the full list later.

One of those items was have a project where he gave back to the community, which turned out to be the toy donation to the local hospital.

“I wanted to donate to the community,” Cifuentes said. “In Pauls Valley the hospital is really important to the town so I thought I would do something to give back.

“It’s about giving back and feeling like I accomplished something; that I helped make a kid’s day.”

The idea behind this particular community project came about because Cifuentes’ mother works at a local downtown restaurant, where through a regular customer she has access to plush toys. He decided to make that his project.

Yet another item on his list is to do something that puts him on the front page of a newspaper. Mission accomplished with the hospital project.

“I am actually crossing off two things from the list with this,” he said.

A couple of other items on his bucket list are to skydive and go horseback riding.

One on the unique side involves getting together with our land’s top office-holder for a game of hoops.

“I have on the list play basketball with the president. We’ll see how that one goes.”

Cifuentes gives plenty of credit to the big influences in his life — his parents and even his girlfriend, Brittany Davis.

Through his father’s influence Cifuentes says he’s now studying in an entrepreneurial program at Mid-America Technology Center in nearby Wayne.

“As an entrepreneur it’s good to just give back,” Cifuentes said.

“I want to thank my parents. My dad got me into being an entrepreneur. He’s a big inspiration to me. My mom, she’s just always been there for me.”