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Dear Faculty and Parents,

My name is Cyndy Etler. I am a teacher, teen life coach and author. I am writing this letter to introduce you to my books, The Dead Inside and We Can’t Be Friends.

The Dead Inside and We Can’t Be Friends are memoirs that recount my adolescent years, and the pain I endured at the hands of the system. The lessons that I teach young people through the sharing of my story can open the doors of communication for teens who face any types of struggles, not just those with problems similar to my own.

Most importantly, allowing students to read my very genuine, but often painful, story can better prepare them to be aware of their own needs, and the needs of other students in their schools. It shows them that they are far from alone.

While the details of my problems may be alarming to some, they will be topics that are all too familiar to many teenagers today. I handle the specific incidents of abuse in my book with as much dignity as the situation allows. While the books contain some adult situations and profanity, none of it is gratuitous or used for shock value. Rather, it represents an accurate portrayal of the events as they occurred.

Thank you, and I look forward to sharing these life-changing moments with your children, your students.


Cyndy Etler, M.Ed., C.Y.L.C.

  • Cyndy,
    I also heard the tail end of your interview on Charlotte Talks, and I am horrified by what you and the other children went through in Straight, Inc..
    I really was a rebellious teen that drank, smoked pot and cigarrettes – but thank God I was never put into a facility such as this and have since “grown up,” as they say.

    I feel so badly for all of the children (now adults) recounting their stories of abuse on the surviving straight inc. website. I wish someone would have stepped in on behalf of the children and had these facilities shut down at the time.

    I want to thank you for having the courage to share your story, helping other survivors to share theirs, and for making a difference in the lives of teenagers today. You have taken a very personal nightmare (for yourself and others) and transformed it into a positive life lived with purpose – to help others.

    All my love and support to you and the survivors, as I know that all of you HAVE the strength within you to leave your cocoon, become beautiful butterflies, and fly.

    Don’t ever let them take your wings.



    August 26, 2012

  • Aimee, you’re a damn poet. Your closing lines kind of made my eyes sting. Thank you.


    September 2, 2012

  • Listening to your interview on Charlotte Talks. Amazing! What a horrible experience.

    Noticed a mistake on this page. Thought you’d like to know. Remove the word “is” from the following sentence.

    “I am writing this letter is to introduce you to my book, STRAIGHTLING, and its accompanying website.”

    Sounds like you’re doing great work with today’s kids. Keep it up!!



    August 20, 2012

  • I thought I was the world’s OCDest editor. Turns out, Stan, that you are. Much appreciated!


    August 21, 2012

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