Improving Your Image Through Visual Communications

Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Monday 22 December 2014

Our young people need us

By Darren Stones

We need to be mindful of constantly encouraging and supporting young people to be actively involved in our community.

We need to message them, chat to them, call them, see them, and tell them how good they are at doing what they do. If we can all do this with at least one young person in our life, we can all make a positive difference in that young person's life.

We need to pass on the baton by demonstrating how much we care about our young people. We need to show them how much we care about them and do our best to provide new opportunities for them.

We need to do the little things with and for them so we can develop a respectful bond that sees us all in the community gaining from the experience.

Our young people are our future. We need to nurture them and provide them with opportunities to shine like rising stars. We need to show them we care about them, so they can go on into adulthood to pass on the baton. We owe it to them and to ourselves.


Choose to invest in yourself

By Darren Stones

Consider that you have the power to choose to invest in yourself when you want to live your life to its fullest.
  1. Consider who it is you want to be serving and engage in education, volunteering and work that leads you to achieving such.
  2. Read articles and books that provide information, guidance and insights regarding the people you want to serve.
  3. Research on the Internet about those people who are currently working in roles that interest you. Analyse their work, volunteering and education experiences.
  4. Connect with people who you can meet face-to-face with so you can talk about life in general. Share experiences and discuss your dreams. Talk about family, work, education, current affairs, fashion, music, food, etc. Connect respectfully and build the connection to a point where you trust each other.
  5. Take time to get away from it all. Make this a commitment to yourself and consider it as a health priority. By getting away, you can find space for reflection from a distance. It is when you step back that you can see the bigger picture. This is an opportunity to realign your thoughts and refresh your thinking.

Monday 8 December 2014

Early Offer to study the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at RMIT University

By Darren Stones

On Friday 21st of November 2014, I was privileged and excited to receive an Early Offer from RMIT University to study the undergraduate degree of the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours). I have accepted the offer and enrolled in the program.

Commencing in 2015, the program is four years duration on a full-time basis and will see me working towards becoming a fully qualified social worker in accordance with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

I will be studying the degree program at RMIT's City Campus in Swanston Street, Melbourne at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

"The School of Global, Urban and Social Studies is a multidisciplinary leader in delivering education, training and research that contribute to a just and sustainable world."

Having successfully completed the Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development with the Kangan Institute, the social work program with RMIT is a progressive step for me towards experiencing higher learning and gaining further qualifications at the tertiary level.

I do envisage that my studies with RMIT will be a valuable learning experience, and I'm most grateful to those people who continue to encourage and support me in my education goals. It is an honour to receive an Early Offer, and I'm most grateful to RMIT for offering me the opportunity to study and achieve the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours).

In applying to study with RMIT University, my first preference for 2015 is to study the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) and I remain hopeful of being offered to study this program in Round 1 on 19 January, 2015.

Darren Stones at RMIT University Open Day City Campus 2014

A personal view of mentoring

By Darren Stones

"The path you walk is of your own choosing. If you so desire, I can walk with you along your chosen path and be there to encourage and support you as you decide what is best for you. I am willing to listen to your thoughts and ideas about what you are considering to do. If you wish to discuss your thoughts and ideas, we can happily explore options, views and opinions in a friendly and purposeful manner that could inspire and motivate you to take action. You may discover that your confidence heightens as a result of these interactions between us." - Darren Stones, Mentor, 8/12/2014.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Five-minute activities to improve your mental fitness

By Darren Stones

Have you ever thought about how to better use five minutes? Utilising five minutes wisely on a regular basis can help you to improve your mental fitness.

A five-minute activity can actually bring you pleasure and make you feel good. Here are 12 activities to consider, and in doing so, write down those that interest you most. By doing some of these five-minute activities regularly, you will begin to create new behaviours that will improve your mental fitness. All these activities are designed to be done at home, and you may also consider doing some at work during your lunch break.

  • Listen to a song
  • Read pages in a book
  • Prepare some fruit salad
  • Cut flowers and put them in a vase
  • Write a shopping list
  • Read an article on the Internet
  • Do some exercise
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Read a movie review
  • Watch a movie trailer on the Internet
  • Message or text a family member or friend
  • Create a photo and upload it to your social media account

Of course you may think of many other things to do and that's excellent. The objective is to do something that interests you and makes you feel good.

When you feel inspired, do two five-minute activities back-to-back. Or, you may like to do more than two. The choice is yours, so get creative and give it a go!

Remember, it's the doing that will improve your mental fitness.

PDF Worksheet: Five-minute activities to improve your mental fitness

Image by imagerymajestic at

Saturday 18 October 2014

Empowering words of encouragement

By Darren Stones

In searching for inspiration with the purpose to increase momentum, I came across this gem of a slideshow of 24 empowering quotes. Please enjoy.

Friday 19 September 2014

Change the way you think

By Darren Stones

You have the power to change the way you think.

If I said these two things to you, what would you think?

1. "I love you."
2. "Now it's time for you to start loving yourself."

Ninety Mile Beach, Lakes, Entrance, Victoria, Australia IMG_4614_Lakes_Entrance

Friday 5 September 2014

Sharing is caring

By Darren Stones

Connection ... connection with people. There's times in our life when we connect strongly with people to a point where many things are shared.

When I say shared, I want to mention actual sharing. Sharing comes in many forms and I believe in my heart that when sharing goes to a level that is sustained over a long period of time, that's when a genuine connection has formed.

I would say - without any doubt - that the best sharing experiences I can draw on are when emotional support is involved. I believe these experiences truly lead to strong connection where the benefits are felt. They are felt in a way that inspires, motivates and keeps us moving ahead even when we doubt ourselves.

When we connect strongly with people, and they demonstrate to you over a long period of time that they are supportive and encouraging, they are the people to keep in your life. They are the people that care for YOU.

Friday 15 August 2014

RMIT Open Day 2014

By Darren Stones

RMIT's Open Day for 2014 was exciting, and here's a few photos I took on the day.

From the RMIT website:

"RMIT is a global university of technology and design and Australia's largest tertiary institution. The University enjoys an international reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education and outcome-oriented research."

Introduction to RMIT Session - 700 Programs

Introduction to RMIT Session

RMIT Open Day 2014 Catalogue

RMIT Open Day Signage

RMIT Social Work Stand

RMIT Student Services Stand

Introduction to RMIT - Urbanites Unite

Wednesday 30 July 2014

9 ways to improve your mentoring experience

By Darren Stones, Mentor, Schools Mentoring Australia

A few thoughts about mentoring:
  • Be prepared to role play
  • As a mentor, let the mentee explore what truly drives them
  • As a mentee, be clear in what you want from the mentoring process
  • As a mentor, encourage the mentee to do research - it empowers them
  • As a mentee, be willing to be challenged by your mentor
  • As a mentor, be prepared to be challenged
  • As a mentee, ask your mentor what they would do in a situation
  • As a mentor, listen and take notes
  • As a mentee, listen and take notes
The mentoring process is mutually beneficial to both mentee and mentor. Both learn about the mentoring process. As a mentee, you will learn how to become a mentor yourself. Mentoring can be formal and informal. It's all around you. You may be learning something new every day.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Is this a pathway to great leadership?

By Darren Stones

When it comes to inspiring good leadership, I regularly tune into the thoughts of Simon Sinek. His words resonate with me, and I feel uplifted and motivated after watching his talks.

I watch his talks over and again because I like to embed the learning I gain from his words of wisdom.

Please enjoy Simon Sinek's Ted talk titled Why good leaders make you feel safe.

Friday 9 May 2014

A strengths-based activity

By Darren Stones

A brief strengths-based activity to consider:

1. Think of three males and three females you've come into contact with this week.
2. Write their first names on a piece of paper.
3. Beside each name, write one strength that each person possesses.

Reflect for a few minutes and write one or two sentences on that piece of paper as to how you feel after doing this strengths-based activity.

Friday 18 April 2014

ANZAC Appeal 2014

By Darren Stones

Please remember to give generously to the ANZAC Appeal in 2014. ANZAC Day is on Friday 25, April and my partner Bronwyn is collecting again this year. Very proud to say that she has raised over $12,000 for the appeal in the last five years.

Thursday 10 April 2014

The remarkable imagery of Louie Schwartzberg

By Darren Stones

Louie Schwartzberg is one of the visual geniuses of our time. His mastery in creating time-lapse imagery provides us with the opportunity to experience nature in a way we would not normally see.

Schwartzberg says that "we are surrounded by things we can't see." He makes the "invisible visible."


Tuesday 8 April 2014

A reflection on group work learning

By Darren Stones

The best learning is not done in isolation. The best and most meaningful learning is achieved in collaboration with people who desire to improve themselves.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Participate in goals

"If you truly believe a person has the potential to achieve their goal, be honest with them and tell them that they can achieve it. And be prepared to support and assist that person to achieve their goal. The choice is yours." - Darren Stones

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Eden Wharf

By Darren Stones

During a visit to the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales during December 2013, Bronwyn and I enjoyed a day trip from our base in Merimbula to the seaside village of Eden.

Eden has a fantastic wharf where you can see fisherman going about their activities. Here's a few iPhone images of the wharf area.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Injecting fun into your photography

By Darren Stones

Got a Smartphone that can take photographs? Well, if you do, then you could have some great fun with your photography. Let's for a moment leave the serious side of photography aside and consider how much of a great time we can have taking photos and sharing them purely for the sake of fun.

Darren being photobombed by Bronwyn at Main Beach, Merimbula

Selfies or self-taken group shots are all the rage and I can see why. The fun you can have creating them can inspire creativity and get you involved in photography in a way that isn't serious. I can appreciate how some people may be hesitant to share selfies, however if you're sensible and confident within yourself then give it a go and maybe include a few words to accompany the images.

Darren enjoying the sunshine at Main Beach, Merimbula

When out and about, I enjoy taking a few shots with my iPhone and sharing them on Facebook. In a world where there's more than enough judgemental behaviour, I believe we can be a little less serious and believe in ourselves to the point where photographing ourselves can help lift us and inspire us to better things.

Darren laying back and enjoying the view at Short Point, Merimbula

Photography is a great way to capture memorable moments, and it's the fun aspect that can help cement those memorable moments. Whether it's with family, friends, team mates, whatever, get your phone out and use it in a way where you can simply have fun.

Darren demolishing a rum and raisin ice cream at Central Tilba

As someone who enjoys the serious side of photography, I really enjoy using my phone camera in a way that gives me pleasure. So get out there and have fun with your camera, and share those images in a way where you feel good and satisfied.

Darren in costume as a volunteer for the Young Carers Rock Trivia Night at the Northland Youth Centre in Preston

Friday 3 January 2014

The importance of creating and sharing activities

By Darren Stones

Okay, I admit it. I love a latte. And I enjoy sharing it in the company of family and friends. Recently I've been photographing my coffees with my iPhone for the sake of fun and creating memories. Sharing a coffee with people is an important part of being social and for me it's become an integral part of my life.

The Coffee Club at Highpoint Shopping Centre
Photo: Darren Stones

McCafe at McDonalds Niddrie
Photo: Darren Stones

When we spend time sharing a coffee, we create an opportunity to interact with people and share experiences. I believe it's a healthy activity because it provides us with meaningful opportunities to connect with people and further develop friendships.

Dairy Queen in Glenroy
Photo: Darren Stones

In my role as a volunteer where I provide 1:1 social and recreational support via Merri Community Health Services, I visit cafes for coffee and use this method as a way creating a relaxed atmosphere where friendly conversation can flow.

Donut King at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre
Photo: Darren Stones
So when going for coffee, think about the positive aspects of engaging in conversations and how it can be a way for deepening connections with family and friends. Enjoy!

Sharing Activities
Photo: Darren Stones