Outside of the classroom, Scott Hays donates his time to homeless projects

Scott Hays (Melanie Roberts)

Melanie Roberts

As a part-time instructor at Saddleback College for 12 years, Scott Hays works to help students in his English and journalism classes everyday, but his background as a journalist in the field has brought him to find projects outside of teaching.

Over recent years, Hays has started a partnership with the Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach, which houses about 30 adults each year and transitions people from homelessness to self-sufficiency, according to Hays.

The partnership was formed to produce a benefit CD with proceeds all going back to the shelter.

“It was the most rewarding project of my life, and I didn’t get a dime,” Hays said.

“Shelter Me” is a CD collaboration of 13 original songs performed by local homeless people. The project was meant to bring awareness to the homeless and help end it in Orange County. 

One homeless man from Laguna Beach, David “Holland” McMahon, has two songs on the CD called, “Rebel Without a Dime,” and “Ain’t it Just a Wonderful Life.”

Hays said, “He is a phenomenal singer/songwriter.”

In addition to the CD there was also a 13-minute documentary made by OCC film students about what happened behind the scenes of production and the process. 

“There was a showing at the local theatre downtown in Laguna Beach the night that “The Soloist” movie came out, and I brought Holland in to watch the movie,” Hays said. “He got to come see the documentary and then we watched the movie, “The Soloist.”

Another project Hays has worked on was a music documentary for the organization HomeAid, that builds transitional housing for people who are abused and need to get out of their home or people that are homeless and need a place to stay.

Currently he is working with the Friendship Shelter on their Saturday morning show on the new KX 93.5 station called, “The Friendship Show” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

Hays said that he still keeps in touch with the people he worked with and shares the projects with his students. 

“If there’s an assignment that we’re working on in class, like dissecting lyrics, I will show the documentary, talk about Holland’s song, “Ain’t it Just a Wonderful Life,” and we’ll look at some of his lyrics, where he talks about being homeless,” Hays said. “All of the students seem to respond to it well.”

Hays has a master’s degree in both English literature and communications he comes from a long line of teachers including his dad and brothers, and that he initially didn’t want to go into teaching at all.

“I went to school to become a journalist, a writer, and that’s what I’ve done most of my adult life, and then about 12 years ago I saw some fellow writers teaching, ” Hays said. “I thought it might be a good supplement to my writing career.”

He said that surprisingly feature writing isn’t his favorite class, because he’s done journalism and feature writing his whole life.

“I really enjoy the English courses, because you are reading students’ essays, you’re having great critical thinking skills, discussions in the classroom and you get to know the students on a more one-on-one basis,” Hays said.

For more info on Scott Hays go to:


For more info on “Shelter Me,” go to:


For more info on the friendship shelter go to: